Are we missing something?
How can we be more effective?
When Jesus was comforting his disciples, here are his words to Thomas:
I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 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 works themselves. Very truly I tell 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 14:10-14)
We who believe in him are told that we will do even greater things than Jesus did! We have been given the power and authority to do so.
Do we see this in the Church today? We see it with those who seem to be abusing this privilege, the money-soaked and power-hungry TV evangelists and faith healers and prosperity gospel advocates who seem to have a hot-line to God and who are quite ready to tell us so. This is religion as a cash cow, a means of making a lot of money. Surely the example of Simon Magus should have been enough to deter such behaviour. In Acts 8 he tried to buy spiritual gifts from Peter and was severely reprimanded for this. Also Ananias and Sapphira came to a sticky end in Acts 5 because of their love of money. Yet these modern equivalents are seen to perform miracle after miracle almost as a by-product of their primary intention of securing funds for their extravagant lifestyles.
This had been a stumbling block for me, and probably for a lot of others too. Intimacy? Are these evangelists truly working for the Kingdom of God? Or is this an abuse of the intimacy they surely once had with Jesus? Following our marriage model isn’t this akin to hiring out our wife as a prostitute? Strong words, but we must always be aware that the world is watching, you only need to see the large volume of YouTube exposés of such ministries to see that they are assuredly not doing this for the Glory of God or to advance the Kingdom of God.
Yet God still heals and He will even use these ministries to fulfil His purposes. His concern is for the lost and the hurting and the broken-hearted and He will use whatever means to fulfil His plan for individuals, even if it is through the soiled hands of a religious huckster.
But we need to switch attention to ourselves. We must look beyond these shenanigans and earnestly seek the intimacy that Jesus surely desires for all of us. It is only through intimacy and real relationship that we can be really effective for the Kingdom of God, that out of this relationship can flow the authority and power that He promises us and the faith to exercise it.
So our role in the Kingdom of God is to realise that this power and authority has truly been given to us and that we can procure it through intimacy with Him. To these ends I would like to commend a ministry that has recently impacted my life.
This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp