PARTNERS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART XCIII
Jesus had asked his disciples, “Who do man say I am?’ (Mark 8:27). In this chapter, we are looking at: “What did Jesus say who he was?” Jesus made some very interesting and stunning claims. Jesus, in addition to being in charge of his destiny, as we have shown in the previous chapter, He also promised that death could not hold Him! (John 10:18). For, Jesus too was eternal! Jesus was in the Father and with the Father before creation began (John 8:42; 8:58; 14:7). Jesus believed that He was not of this world, and that He was sent into the world for the sake of the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24), and to the world and for all of mankind (John 16:28). Jesus did not want to be assessed for mere believing in Him! But, Jesus wanted to be assessed for the work that He was doing. Faith, without being involved in what is being done, will not produce a miracle that substantiate our faith. So, when Thomas did not believe that Jesus was alive, Jesus, in person, appeared to provide him with the evidence (John 20:24-29). What Jesus had to do to prove Himself, all Christians must be able to do to enhance their faith in Christ. And that was what Jesus told the Jews:
If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father (John 10:37-38).
Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father 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 work. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.” “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father” (John 14:8-12).
JESUS’ WORKS MANIFESTED WHO HE WAS, AND SO MUST HIS FOLLOWERS
Jesus said to the Jews, “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 He does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show him, that they may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life ; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:19-24).
“I can do nothing on my own authority; 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. If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony which I received is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and your were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me. And the Father who has sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He has sent. You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men. But I know that you have not the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:30-47).
THE WORK OF CHRIST WAS THE WORK OF GOD’S SPIRIT AND IRREPLACEABLE; TO DENY IT IS UNFORGIVABLE
Jesus’ birth and initiation into his ministry were acts of the Spirit of God. We have two accounts in Matthew 1:18-25, and in Luke 1:26-38 asserting the role of the Spirit in Mary’s conception. Then we have all the Gospels agree that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and inducted into the ministry and visibly confirmed by the Spirit of God (Mark 1:9-13; Luke 3:21-23; Matthew 3:13-17; John 1:29-34). Jesus was in the Spirit of God when He faced Satan in the desert, then returned to Nazareth, and cast out demons that plagued a man. Mark’s brief statement about Jesus facing the head of demons has been enlarged by Luke 4:1-13 and Matthew 4:1-11.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.” The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts;and the angels ministered to him (Mark 1:9-13),
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:14-21).
Now he (Jesus) was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had gone out, the dumb man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of demons”; while others, to try him, sought a sign from heaven. But he (Jesus), knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and house falls upon house. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For youm say that I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if it is I by the finger (Spirit) of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own place, his goods are in peace; but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil. He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:14-23; Matthew 12:22-30).
“Therefore I tell, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come “ (Matthew 12:31-32).
THE HEART OF THE WORK OF CHRIST WAS AND IS REDEMPTION; IT IS A WORK OF GRACE
Grace for God was a sacrifice. It cost God “His only Begotten Son” (John 3:16-21; 6:51; 10:10-17). In return, God expects no less than our lives (I John 3:16). Read what Jesus said, and let us stop trampling on grace. If we do, then there is no more forgiveness.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:34-39).
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:24-28; Mark 8:34-38).
For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. A man who has violated the law of Moses died without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was consecrated, and outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:26-31).
He also who had received one talent came forward, saying, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where youm did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” But his master answered him, “You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth” (Matthew 25:24-30).
“And I (John) saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. The Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12-15).
Jesus asked to be judged by what He had done. What does manifest his followers in the world and before God?