Monday, March 13, 2017

God’s Work By Christ Through You

Image result for the works of Jesus
John 9:1-5 "As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”


In this post we want to understand what works Jesus came to do and how you and I can appreciate and share those works with others. 

The importance of Jesus' works

When we consider the Person of Jesus Christ, one cannot separate Who He is from what He did and is continuing to do. The actions and activities of Jesus Christ are His works. The works of Christ are likened unto rays of the sun that lead us back to the Person of Christ.

In Matthew 11:2-5 we read the following: "Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." John the Baptist was held in Herod's dungeon-like prison. His cell was just wide enough for the man himself. The conditions were unsanitary, dark and exposed John the Baptist to the elements. He was the forerunner of Jesus, and now it seemed life was running over him. For a moment John's world was eclipsing His vision of Jesus. John had not lost complete faith, for He knew He needed to appeal to the works. Jesus sent word back concerning the works He was doing, validating His messianic identity. Jesus' works are important. 

The Apostle John often will mention Jesus' works, since Jesus Himself mentioned them. In John 10:25 for instance, we read these words from Jesus' lips: "Jesus answered them, 'I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.'" The works of Jesus points one back to Himself. Jesus elsewhere claims to do the same works as the Father, hence verifying His claims of deity (see John 5:20,36; 10:37-38). Once more, concerning Jesus' works indicated by the Apostle John, we read in John 14:11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves."

The remarkable fact of Jesus' works working through the believer

Jesus did all sorts of works while in His ministry here on this work. The Gospel records 35 miracles, His substitutionary death on the cross and resurrection. All of those works points us back to Jesus. However, the amazing reality following His resurrection is that He, by His Spirit, and by His exaltation at the Father's right hand, works through believers in history and in the world. Jesus Himself promised His disciples for example in John 14:12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." The Reformation Study Bible observes: "

History proves that Jesus is not affirming that each believer will do greater miracles than He did. The church’s work in the power of the Holy Spirit will be 'greater' than Jesus’ works in number and territory."

As one combs the Book of Acts and the New Testament letters, it is evident that the church as a whole is continuing on Jesus' works. Christianity, mind you, is the only religion in the world that claims its original founder to be daily experienced in the life of His followers. Moreover, followers of Jesus Christ claim that Christ is working in them and through them. What follows below is a summery of the types of work God by Christ works through believers in Jesus Christ. This summary of Christ's works is gleaned from John 9 and finds their spiritual counterparts in the remainder of the New Testament.

1. Sight to the spiritually blind. John 9:1-12

The Apostle Paul is recorded saying in Acts 26:17-18 concerning God's call on His life: rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ Just as Jesus opened the eyes of the man born blind in John 9, every follower of Jesus Christ has been charged to share the Gospel with those who are born spiritually blind. Only God's word spoken, preached or explained can open the spiritual eyes of the sinner. 

We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5: "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness". We are reminded in Galatians 6:9-10 "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." According to 2 Corinthians 5:15-20 reminds us as well that God is making His plea through believers for sinners to be reconciled to Himself. Jesus works through the Christian to verbalize the gospel to open spiritual eyes. Notice another work of Jesus through the Christian....

2. Speak the Word to the spiritually dead. John 9:13-17

The audience which got wind of Jesus' miracle in the healing of this man born blind was a hostile one. The religious leaders more and more hated the Lord Jesus Christ. He was unfazed though and continued to speak for God's truth and embody such truth as God in human flesh. Whenever the follower of Jesus Christ shares God's word with unbelievers, such words carry with them life giving power. John 5:24-25 notes: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 
25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live." The preaching forth of God's word is the voice of Christ calling forth sinners from their tomb of unbelief, connecting it to what will be the literally resurrection of the dead from their graves in the future when He returns. We see, in other words, parallels between the spiritual reality of the new birth and the physical reality of resurrection. Concerning how God's words bring forth spiritual life, James 1:18 notes: "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures." The Apostle Peter writes similarly in 1 Peter 1:23 "for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God."

So in terms of Jesus works, believers in Him continue on in spiritual terms what He did for the blind man in John 9. We speak forth His word which opens spiritual eyes and speaks life into spiritually dead souls. Now notice one more work God desires to work by Christ through His people...

3. Set free those who are captive. John 9:18-29

When this man's sight was given to Him by Jesus, it did not mean his life was going to be easy. In fact, before it was all said and done, this man lost everything humanly speaking. He lost his place in that Jewish culture, temple life and clearly his relationship with his family. But do you know, this man had Jesus! Jesus set him free from the captivity of darkness that had held him at bay all his life. John 8:32 and 8:36 reminds us of the one set free by Jesus and by His words is free indeed! Far better to walk a free man in this world with no commendation from men than to have all the world has to offer. 

Jesus states in Mark 8:34-38 - "And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Closing thoughts

In this post we aimed to understand what works Jesus came to do and how you and I could appreciate and share those works with others. We looked at three such works:

1. Sight to the spiritually blind. John 9:1-12

2. Speak the Word to the spiritually dead. John 9:13-17

3. Set free those who are captive. John 9:18-29

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