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And Believe

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“Stop doubting and believe,” [John 20.27] is the command that Jesus gave the eleven when Thomas had finally re-joined the ten in Jerusalem.  However, what are we supposed to believe, and who are we supposed to believe?  We tend to automatically think that Jesus was telling the eleven to believe in Him, the risen Christ, and all that He had taught them.  That is in part correct.  However, He was still teaching them even after the resurrection, for Luke recorded in Acts 1.3 that He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.  As such, Jesus was still trying to teach them what would have been taught to them on the Mount of Transfiguration had they gone on resurrection morning.  Despite the fact that the original plan had gone amiss, Jesus was still revealing to them the kingdom that they were called and chosen to establish on the Earth.  Notice that He did not speak of the Kingdoms of Heaven or of Israel.  These were not the kingdoms that concerned the Lord’s agenda at that point in time, but rather, the establishment of the Kingdom of God was His post resurrection priority.  The kingdom not only of eating, drinking or talking, but of power, joy, peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.  The kingdom which the Holy Spirit was being sent to help them to establish.  It was not the church that the Holy Spirit was being sent to establish, but rather, the Kingdom of God on Earth through the ‘church.’  So the church itself is merely the means to the end, and not the end itself.  The church is merely the instrument to produce the result, and not the result.  It is the Kingdom of God on Earth that Jesus has us pray for, “…Your kingdom come… on Earth as it is in Heaven,” [Matthew 6.10] not, “Your church be established on the Earth.”  As such, the church that is not establishing the Kingdom of God on Earth is not doing what it is supposed to be doing.  ‘Winning souls for Heaven’ was never what the disciples were ever told to do.  Indeed, if we are to make disciples who actually believed in the words of Jesus, that would have to include John 11.26, “…and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.”  As such, it is not the winning of souls for Heaven, but rather, the establishment of God’s rule on the Earth through Jesus Christ, and not through the church, for the need of the church would expire the moment Jesus is back on the Earth with His kings and lords and begins the age of the Kingdom of Christ.

It is therefore not about living a ‘Christian’ life as the church would define it… a life of powerlessness, waiting for death to take us to Heaven after a period of struggling to overcome immorality and sin while trying to do something charitable.  But rather, it is the life of Christ… not the Christ-like life, but Christ’s life – the life He would have continued to live if He were not crucified and ascended to heaven.  A life of continuous preaching of the words spoken by the Father and doing what the Father is doing so that the Father is revealed to those who believe.  Words that come from the mouth of God and deeds that are the deeds of God.  A life lived healing the sick, doing miracles that provide for all that is needed, controlling the elements and driving out demons… practising until even the greater things than what He did are done.  When Jesus told the eleven that they would do the greater things because He was going to the Father, He was speaking of things that He had not yet done.

So, what are things that Jesus had not yet done?

Jesus said, “…they will speak in new tongues…” [Mark 16.17]  That is something that He did not do.  As such, the ability that the Holy Spirit gives us to speak to God in languages that no one understands except God alone is a greater thing, for when Jesus prayed to the Father, those around Him understood what He was saying.  If any church does not believe that speaking in tongues are for today, then they have already disbelieved Jesus’ words about the signs that accompany His believers.  They might as well continue to listen to James and practise the words of James that he wrote to the Jews.  At least some of the sick might be healed when they anoint them in oil, and Satan would be kept busy by their resistance.  To even begin to contemplate what the greater things are, you must acknowledge that believers should speak in new tongues.

Jesus drove out demons.  So what is a greater thing than driving out demons?  After all, if you only drive them out, they will come back later to disturb you afresh.  Rather than drive out demons, a greater thing would be to change them from unclean to clean spirits by the glory of God, like water that is fit only for the washing of feet to good wine.  That would start a process of attrition in the ranks of the demons that would see them run out of demons to send against us, for the number of demons are not infinite.

If Jesus was able to live on Earth after His ascension, what else would He have done?  Consider this, He walked through walls and changed form so that even His disciples did not recognise Him.  He had breakfast ready for the seven without having to go fishing or ask anyone for food.  He ascended to the sky before their very eyes, that is, He flew.  Now, that is surely something we should practise believing that we can do.  The Holy Spirit transported Phillip almost a hundred miles in an instant.

In the days of distress that are coming, and with them days of persecution for the disciples of Jesus, for He has warned us that all men will hate us because of Him, it is essential that we too are able to walk through walls.  That way we will not have to wait for an angel to open the doors for us like Peter did.  It is essential that we are able to change our forms so that people will not recognise us, and even more essential to be able to travel great distances instantly to escape our captors and to reach our destinations.  These are just some of the things that bring us to the borderline of the greater things.

So what are the greater things?  To find out for yourself, you must stop doubting and believe in Him and all that He taught.  And if you are not prepared to teach what He taught, then how can you say you believe in Him?

So then, all who consider yourselves to be pastors and teachers, what are you really teaching your people?  For He commanded that we are to teach those we disciple, “…to obey everything I have commanded you.” [Matthew 28.20]  So if you are teaching your people that which James recommended, I suggest you repent and ensure you have taught everything that Jesus has commanded before you go fooling around teaching things recommended by men who do not have in mind the things of God.

So, you believe that Jesus is the Holy One of God?  Good, but even the demons know that.  And if you believe Him, then why do you not teach what He taught, and why do you not believe Him when He said that your people will do what He has been doing and even greater things than this?  For when we are able to do greater things, that is the evidence that He has indeed gone to the Father, so that we know that He is coming back from none other than the Father.  After all, if we cannot show the evidence that He has gone to the Father, then even if He should arrive today, we have no proof of where He has come from.  Without that proof, then men are justified in fighting against Him.  So it is also incumbent on us, the elect, to not only be able to testify that He has come in the flesh and tell people the good news that He is coming back again in the flesh, but we have to display the evidence that He did go to the Father and therefore is coming back from none other than the Father.  To this end, we must be able to do the greater things.

So, you have the blind seeing, the lame walking, the deaf hearing, the dumb speaking, demons driven out and even the dead raised regularly at your church.  Well done, but do not rest, for you have yet to do the greater things.  If your disciples, if you have any, do not yet, cannot yet do these things, then is it not time to “Stop doubting and believe”?

Hr. Ed Kwan, manager of the Holy Spirit’s Workshop

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