We need to allow God Himself to work in and through us as we live for Him in today’s world. That’s what Jesus did as the perfect human when He lived and ministered as a human on earth. He attributed the things that He did to His Father working through Him. He also attributed His teaching to His Father, saying that His words had originated with His Heavenly Father. We look at the origin of the works and miracles He performed and also at the origin of the teaching He taught. Then we examine whether we are meant to be open in the same way to God so that He can do in and through us what He wishes.
1). The Works And Miracles Of Jesus
Jesus was obedient to His Heavenly Father during all His life on earth. Paul described that in his famous passage in Philippians 2. He wrote about the humility of Jesus in coming to earth as a servant to eventually die on the cross for sinners. He expressed it as being part of His obedience to His Father. Php 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. So one has to say that Jesus was obedient to His Father for every moment He lived on earth.
St Paul also referred to the obedience of Jesus in Rom 5:18, 19. The obedience mentioned here is His perfect obedience to the will of God throughout His life and leading to His death. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Jesus did what the Father gave Him to do, in dying for their sins and rising for their justification and acceptance into the family of God.
How then did Jesus describe His miracles and mighty works? Jesus explained them in John 5:19, 20 as originating with the Father. So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. Because He was in perfect union with His Father, He knew His Father’s will. His Father was thus able to show Him what to do in every situation. Jesus was perfectly committed to do the Father’s will at all times, Jn 5:30, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. He was committed to doing only the will of God for every moment of His life.
2). The Words Jesus Spoke. His Teaching
Jesus taught that the Father gave Him the words to say, Jn 14:10, Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. There are three important truths in this passage. Firstly, Jesus’ words came through Him from the Father with the Father’s authority. Secondly, the Father who indwelt Jesus worked His works through Him. They were the Father’s works, not just Jesus’ works, though He did them. Thirdly, Jesus could do these things because of the intimacy of the relationship He had with the Father. The works He did were evidence of the Father working through Him and also of the close relationship they shared.
Later in the High priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus prayed to His Father saying, Joh 17:7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. Jesus’ authority was evident in the way He shared the words of God with His followers. It was also evident in the way He lived and ministered that He had been sent by God.
So there we have the pattern of Jesus as He lived as a human, setting us an example we are to seek to emulate. For every moment of his life as a human, Jesus sought to be in perfect communion with His Heavenly Father. For every moment of His life He sought to be perfectly committed to doing His Father’s will. He did it perfectly. We will never do it perfectly but that is to be our aim. How then can we seek to fulfil God’s will for us? Here is the double-barrelled good news! Firstly, He helps us to know His will. Secondly, He motivates and enables us to do it. What a relief!
GOD HELPS US TO KNOW HIS WILL FOR US
God can show us what to do by His Spirit as we present all we are to Him. Paul wrote, Rom 12:1-2. I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.It may help us to know the deeper meaning to those words. “Spiritual worship” can also be translated as “reasonable service”. Both meanings are true. It is perfectly reasonable to seek to serve Him as the One who gave His life for us. Such service is indeed spiritual worship. The word for “transformed” comes from a Greek word we recognize in English. It comes from the verb of “metamorphosis” meaning the inner change wrought by the renewing of our minds. Such renewed minds make it possible for us to prove what is the will of God. “Prove” is from (dokimazo) which means to test, to prove, and to approve after testing. In other words we put the will of God to the test and then recognize, having done so, that it is good, acceptable and perfect. It’s as though we are saying to the Lord, “Lord, I’m yours. I offer myself completely to You so that I can know Your will for me.” But it’s not enough to know the will of God. We have to do it. How? Here is the second part of the double-barrelled good news.
GOD HELPS US TO DO HIS WILL FOR US
He can motivate us and empower us by His Spirit to do His will. Paul wrote, Phil 2:12-13 work out your salvation for God is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure. There’s an important point in these verses that can be a blessing to us if we act on it. When Paul writes that we are to “work out” our salvation, he uses a word (katergázomai) which means to “accomplish” or to “carry out a task until it is finished”. We are to concentrate, to seek to accomplish, to bring to completion, to make a concerted effort to “work out” in practice what God is working in us by His Spirit. The word he uses for God “working” in us and through us is different. It is the word (energéō) meaning to be operating within or energising us. So the passage can read “Be energised to bring to completion, to work out in practice your salvation. For God Himself is operating within you, motivating you and empowering you to do His will for His good pleasure.”
So the Christian life is not someone saying, “Lord I want to do this this and that for You, so please help me to do it.” Rather it is learning to live in a close relationship with God our Heavenly Father as Jesus did as a human. It means learning to recognise what God is doing within us as we spend time with Him in reading and meditating on His word and praying to Him. That’s what Jesus meant when He encouraged His followers to abide in Him, John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. As we abide in the Lord we are brought closer to the will of God for us. So our prayer as we seek to do the will of God might be something like this, “Lord, I thank You that You are at work within me. Thank You for showing me what You want me to do. Please motivate and empower me by the power of the Holy Spirit to do what it is You have planned for me to do.”
The exciting news is that God knows exactly what He wants us to do. He has had it all mapped out from eternity. That’s what St Paul wrote in Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. The only other use of the word “prepared beforehand” is in Rom 9:23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—. Again what wonderful truths. He has prepared us beforehand for glory as His followers. AND He has prepared beforehand, the works we are meant to do.
So the Christian life is not just about trying to be obedient to God’s laws. It does involve that but is more than that. It is about a deep relationship with God that leads to obedience as we come to know His will. It also means being motivated and empowered to do it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We live in a world that seems to be intent on self-destruction. It needs to be revived and indeed many people throughout the world are praying for a revival to take place. An early explorer, the Portuguese navigator Pedro De Quiros in about 1606, named this continent of Australia, “La Australia del Espiritu Santo” or literally “The Southland of the Holy Spirit”.Many in Australia are looking for a deeper move of the Holy Spirit than we have ever seen before, so that the land might become what it was prophesied to become all those centuries ago. But unless revival occurs it could follow many other nations into becoming what many are already in the process of becoming, “Playgrounds For The Powers Of Darkness.” Australia (and every other country) needs people who are totally committed to Him, who know His will for them and who allow the Lord to motivate and empower them to always do what is pleasing to Him.
We sum up these 3 last blogs (which in reality are an adaption of a message given at a Victorious Christian Living Conference at Port Macquarie in NSW Australia on 17 May 2014) we see what needs to happen.
1). We need to get the right focus in life, Not our ourselves or on other people, but of the perfection of Jesus Himself.
2). We need to fulfil our moral and spiritual obligations to God. Jesus His Son died for us so that we might live every moment for Him.
3). We need to allow God to work within us, so that in response to His motivation and empowerment within us, we can accomplish what He wants done in and through us, to His glory.
Our simple prayer for ourselves throughout each day should be something like this, “Lord fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I might know Your good and perfect will for me, and do it in the power of Your Holy Spirit. AMEN.”
Blog No 151. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Friday 23rd May 2014