Résolutions – Resolutions

church sign hurt« Veillez et priez, afin que vous ne tombiez pas dans la tentation. L’esprit est bien disposé, mais la chair est faible. » – Mark 14:28

Récemment, une église dans ma rue posa ce signe en face de leur bâtiment: « Que vos troubles soient aussi courts que vos résolutions de nouvelle année! »
Cela me rendu très triste. Il est vrai que nos résolutions n’aboutissent pas toujours. Mais voulons-nous que ces échecs définissent nos vies? Ne pas être capable de changer pour le meilleur et de surmonter nos obstacles? Jésus affirma que la chair est faible, mais il ne dit jamais d’abandonner!
Au contraire, Il encouragea ses disciples à veiller et prier! A combattre!
Les disciples étaient bien disposés, mais lorsque le test survint, ils agirent dans la chair. Tristes sur leur propre sort (Luc 22:45) ils manquèrent de prier pour Christ a l’heure où Il en avait le plus besoin, pendant l’heure de la puissance des ténèbres (Luc 22:53). Agissant dans la chair, ils s’endormirent, firent une petite escarmouche charnelle en coupant l’oreille d’un soldat, et partirent en courant comme des trouillards.
De son cote, Jésus montrait un parfait exemple: veillant sur eux-mêmes durant son combat le plus rude, et priant avec tellement de zèle que de grosses gouttes de sang couvrirent son visage.
Jésus était-il résolu d’accomplir la volonté de Dieu? A la mort.
Eventuellement, les disciples apprendraient à discerner le vrai combat à faire face. Pas un combat terrestre ne gagne en coupant des oreilles, mais un combat spirituel qui est accompli en veillant et priant. A la fin, les onze donneraient leur tout pour leur Sauveur, fortifie par Son Esprit.
S’Il vit réellement en nous, quelle sortes de résolutions sommes-nous prêts à suivre? Je ne veux pas mourir ayant souhaité accomplir de belles choses, mais couronne d’une couronne de gloire montrant à quel point notre Dieu est merveilleux et puissant !

« Watch and pray, that you may not fall into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak » – Mark 14:28

Recently a church in my neighborhood put the sign in front of their building « May your troubles be as short as your new year resolutions »
This made me really sad. It is true that our resolutions don’t always go through. But should this be how the life of a believer be identified with? To be incapable of changing and overcoming our obstacles? Jesus said that the flesh was weak, but He never said to give up!
On the contrary, He encouraged them to watch and pray! To fight!
The disciples were willing, they even said earlier they would die for Jesus. But when the test came, they acted in the flesh. Sorrowful for themselves (Luke 22:45), they failed to pray for Christ in the hour of his greatest need, in the hour of the power of darkness (Luke 22:53). Acting in the flesh, the fell asleep, put up a short earthly fight by cutting one’s ear, and then ran away like cowards.
On His side, Jesus was showing them the perfect example: watching for them, and praying so hard that great drops of blood drained His face.
Was Jesus resolved to accomplish the Father’s will? To the death.
Eventually, the disciples learned to discern what was the true battle that they needed to fight. Not an earthly one won by cutting people’s ears, but a spiritual one that is fought through watching and praying. Eventually, the eleven of them would go all the way for their Savior, empowered by His Spirit.
If He truly lives in us, what kind of resolutions are we willing to live by? I don’t want to die having been willing to accomplish much, but with a crown of glory showing how beautiful and powerful our God is!

Teach Us Lord Music Video

Un grand merci à RWU productions pour rendre ce projet possible! Et aussi à mon épouse ayant filmé cette vidéo le jour après son opération de caillots de sang! Ci-dessous une petite partie « dramatisée » de son témoignage.

A big thanks to RWU productions for making this possible! And also to my dear wife who filmed this video a day after having surgery for kidney stones! Below a brief « dramatized » portion of her testimony. 

 

Teach Us Lord: LEAD SHEET

Silence in Heaven – Revelation 8:1-5

Sometimes I wonder what we would see if we could somehow materialize our prayers, stick a camera on them, and follow their pathways and effects.  I have no doubts, it would be one of the most interesting, enriching and eye-opening journeys we could ever take.

Just imagine for a minute to see your prayer rise to God, and enter His Holy Temple. Imagine how it would be to see His face as He hears it, and then to hear His commands to His Holy Spirit and angels, and then to watch them sent out to reach to hearts and souls and circumstances and people.

The Bible tells us a lot about how to pray, about the motivation we should have, our heart attitude and such, and also why we should pray; but as far as what happens when we pray, it’s often a mystery. There is however one passage where we see God receiving prayers and acting on them, and it is to me one of the most fascinating and sobering passages in Scripture. In fact, in this passage it is not only one prayer that we see to be received by God, but all the prayers of all the saints. And what we see in response of these prayers is very surprising.

It is found in Revelation 8:1-5, and I invite you to turn there.

Rev 8:1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Rev 8:2  Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

Rev 8:3  And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,

Rev 8:4  and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.

Rev 8:5  Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

As we look into this passage this morning, we will look at 3 reasons why our prayers culminate in God’s salvation through judgment, so that we would be would remember the unequaled importance of prayer.

And this is what I want all of us to remember this morning: the ultimate purpose of intercessory prayers is salvation through judgment. A right prayer, made with a rightful heart, who asks for God’s will to be done, will be answered in salvation through judgment.

I. Salvation is Now (1-2)

The first reason why our prayers culminate in salvation through judgment is that salvation is now. The age we live in is an age of salvation. From the Fall of man to this very moment, every revelation of God made through His Word, through His deeds or His Presence have pointed towards His desire to have a relationship with man through salvation and judgment.

When God gave the first promise of the Bible to Adam, promising a victorious seed, this seed would only be victorious because it would crush the serpent’s head.

When Abraham got saved in Genesis 15, when he believed and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, it was only after God had delivered him from the hand of 5 kings who had captured Lot. Abraham placed his faith in God only after He realized and saw that God was a Savior; as He had saved him from his enemies, He could also save him unto eternal life.

When Israel was delivered from Egypt, it was through the judging of the Egyptians with terrible plagues and signs of God’s wrath. During the period of the kings, it was through the judging of Israel’s enemy nations that they witnessed the picture of God’s salvation.

It is also at the death of Christ that we both see perfect salvation and perfect judgment, as through God’s wrath falling on His Son on the cross is reconciliation possible.

End now we get to the end of the age, and the very Lamb of God is about to open to last seal of God’s wrath. And so we read in Revelations 8:1-2

8:1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

8:2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

A world free of sin is a world free of sinners. There is no salvation from sin without a salvation away from sinners. And so here we see the other side of the Lamb of God. On one side He is Savior because He dies for sinners and saves those who repent; on the other side He is Savior because at the end He destroys the sinners that do not repent.

But here is what is interesting. For the first time recorded in History, there is silence in heaven. Think about it just a minute. Think about what would need to stop for silence to take place in heaven.

In Revelation 4:8 we read,

Rev 4:8  And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, « Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! »

First, praise stops. The prayer of the angels in praise is put to a halt. But think about the other things that are also heard in heaven. What about the groaningsof the Spirit who intercedes for us when we do not know how to pray? What about the prayers of Jesus Christ, at the right hand of God interceding for us?

For thirty minutes, they come to an end. There is silence. No more prayers. (break) The age of salvation comes to an end. Now is the time for judgment.

To some extent, in this passage we see a parallel with the prophet Jeremy. Three times, God told Jeremy to stop praying, because Israel had gone too far and He was going to punish them.

Jer 7:16 « As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.

Jer 7:20  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched. »

There will be a time when salvation will no longer be available. At the end of this age, the doors of heaven will be locked, and the fate of unbelievers will be the unquenchable fire.

But today, right now, heaven is not silent, and praise the Lord we have an advocate, Jesus Christ, who defends us continually against the accuser before the Father, and who intercedes for us.

I hope we realize the importance of this passage. It is extremely sobering. Salvation ends when prayer ends. It is that direct. Does prayer completely cease after the 30min of silence? Obviously not, but at the opening of the 7th seal, after the time of silence, the only aroma left in the prayers of the saints is that of judgment. After the silence come the trumpets:

8:2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them

So they seven trumpets are given, and as they are blown, the world is destroyed.

1st: a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

2nd: a third of the sea became blood.

3rd: a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water, so it became bitter and people died

4th: a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night

Rev 8:13  Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, « Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow! »

5th: a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. hell on earth (true picture), with torture but people cannot die for 5 months.

6th: So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind.

7th: 7 bowls of judgment which are even worst.

Rev 16:17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, « It is done! »

Well, the message of the angel saying, “it is done” is real and sobering, because it is one of death and judgment. But Jesus also said those very words when He paid the price for our sins.

Yes, judgment is terrible, but it doesn’t have to be, because Christ already endured it for those who believe. And this is the reason why we should pray.

Listen. This is the age of salvation. God’s purpose for this age is for His salvation to reach out to the ends of the earth. Your spiritual growth is not an end it itself. God saves people so that through their testimony He can continue to be known, so that, as Paul wrote, “as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” (2 Cor 4:15).

I just finished my thesis on God’s glory last week. And let me tell you something. Every time God reveals His glory, it is to make Himself known, so that people can have a relationship with Him through salvation. In the same way, to give glory to God is to make Him known.

And this is why we must pray. This is why we must pray hard, with perseverance, with passion, with endurance, without ceasing, with discipline, in the Spirit, and with each other. Because you do not want to hear the angel tell your relatives and your friends and your co-workers and one day your children, “it is done!”

No! Christ said those words first, and because of that you want to live hard and pray hard, so that people can know who He is.

II. Salvation is God’s Will (3-4)

First, we saw that prayer culminates in salvation because that’s the age we live in. Salvation is now. One day it will be too late. Secondly we see that our prayers culminate in salvation because it is God’s will.

As we see in the next two verses, the righteous prayers that are heard by God are those who urge for His salvation through judgment:

Rev 8:3  And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,

Rev 8:4  and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.

The picture is very unique. After the seven angels are given trumpets, another comes with a censor, which is kind of sophisticated oil lamp which burns with a very strong smell. And so he comes, and his censor is just overloaded with incense. There is much of it, a lot of it, and it just spreads around, and it is the prayers of all the saints.

Now, something very similar had happened just a little earlier. In chapter 5, we’re all familiar with this passage, it’s the one that people read all the time when they introduce a song of worship that talks about heaven, and when John was crying because no one could open the scroll and the Lamb came and opened it; which by the way the scroll is not the Book of Life, but the seven seals of judgment. And so we read in Revelation 5:8,

Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

So in both passages we have prayers that are made for the Lamb to save the world through judgment.

And here is what is most important. The word “all.” To God are offered prayers for salvation through judgment, of all the saints.

Now I don’t know if John is talking about all the saints that are still in the tribulation or all the saints that ever lived, but one thing is for sure: God is answering all these prayers at once in salvation through judgment. And ultimately, that’s because it is at the center of His will.

Do you ever think about what it implies when you pray to God: ‘Let your will be done?’

For sure the will of God involves a lot of small things in life. But here we get the big picture. God’s will is for His children to be saved, which only happens through the destruction of this world and its unrepentant inhabitants.

Like I said, it’s just a very sobering passage. But it’s there to help us realize what is really important.

Trials come and trials go. But if our purpose of prayer is just to get out of what we’re doing, we’re missing the whole point of prayer is for. At the end of the day, you want to pray for what is eternal.

Both my wife and I have had some significant health problems. A few years back, neither of us knew if we would live very long. Those that have been in the church for some time might have seen how Sophia was on a wheel chair a few years ago, having dropped out of school and incapable of doing much. Her migraines were so strong, there is a whole year of her life that she barely remembers. For me I have back problems. When I was a sophomore at Master’s it got so bad that I was averaging 3-4 fours of sleep every night, even with sleeping pills and muscle relaxant. There was so much tension in my back, my brain was continually cramped, and it just kept getting worse. I remember studying for my finals, and it was so hard to focus tears were falling down my cheeks.

By God’s grace as you can see we’re both doing better now, although we still have issues, but often people would tell us that they were praying for our healing, Obviously it is not a bad thing, and we praise the Lord for good days when we have them, but ultimately you don’t know if God is going to heal someone or not, nor if that’s what brings Him the most glory. It’s good to pray for health, but if we forget the eternal value of things, our prayers simply do not reach their full potential.

Pastor Steve tells me all the time: why do believers pray so hard to keep Christians out of heaven, and so little to bring sinners out of hell?

If you really want your prayers to have an eternal impact, pray for God’s will. Pray for the lost, and pray that He would grow you and the believers around you to shine brighter so that more people would get saved.

Pray that your life would make God known, so that either through you, or someone that you have an impact on, people might get saved.

The reason why so many of our Christian lives become dull and unexciting is because of our lack of vision to reach the lost. But be a man or a woman who is driven by the great commission, and you will have a vision big like the world, and a vibrant prayer life. Take that out, you’ll grow complacent, stuck in a rut, doing the same thing week after week after week and miss out on the great things that God is doing around you. You’ll go to church because that’s the right thing to do and because your best friends are there, and you might even serve there faithfully, but without necessarily laying down treasures in heaven and preparing that eternal crown of glory.

III. Salvation is Christ’s Coming

First, we must pray because salvation is now, and second because salvation is God’s will. Third, we must pray because salvation is Christ’s Coming.

This we see in the next verse:

Rev 8:5  Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

So we see the angel who is done with his censer, and he throws it on the earth, and it brings thunder and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

Now, you might say, why do you equate thunder and flashes of lightning t Christ’s coming? Well, because outside of prophecy, thunder and lightning and earthquake are the symbols of theophanies, when God shows up in glory. That’s what happened at Sinai, when God appeared in the dark cloud,

Exo 19:16  On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.

Exo 19:17  Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain.

Exo 19:18  Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly.

Exo 19:19  And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder.

But let me tell you something. The cloud was not the Father. The cloud was Christ.

Joh 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

The Father is never seen in Scripture, only the Son is. Every theophany is a Christology. When Christ came on earth he took on flesh, to be accessible, but at end of His ministry, He prayed God « Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (John 17:1)

Luk 21:27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

The “cloud” on which Christ will come down is not a comfy sofa that He rides on. It is the fearsome cloud of God’s Shekinah. It symbolizes the very presence and glory of God.

In fact the exact same phrasing in Revelation 8:5 is found in Revelation 11:19 which states:

Rev 11:19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

The reason why all these phenomena happen is because the Temple of God is open, and the world is not ready. The glory is not meant to be destructive, but without the atoning blood of Christ, no sinner can endure it. What we see in Revelation is the Day of the Lord, the coming of Christ on earth in His full glory, and He comes to bring the glory of God on earth, and it becomes destruction because the world is unrepentant.

Zep 1:7  Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near; the LORD has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests.

Zep 1:14  The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there.

Zep 1:15  A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

Zep 1:16  a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements.

So to return to our passage, this is what happens. The angel takes some fire which comes from the altar of God where the prayers of the saints are burnt, and then as he throws that fire on earth, Christ shows up in the midst of it in judgment and destruction.

Like I said, to me this is one of the most sobering passages of all Scripture, not only because of the description of the Great Tribulation, but because it shows that God answers our prayers in ways that we would never dare to express them.

But ultimately, praying in God’s will is to pray for the salvation of the world through judgment, and for the return of Jesus Christ who is the true Savior not only because of the cross, but also because of the fire that He brings.

But here is what is important. The Temple of Israel was made as a copy of that in heaven, as a shadow of it. In Israel’s Temple, twice as day would the priests use a censer, both morning and evening, to carry hot fiery coals from the brazen alter where the sacrifices were offered and transport them to the Holy Place. As of now, the angel-priest still has his censer and has not thrown it on the earth with fire. As of now, our prayers are offered daily to God, and their aroma is always before His throne.

The need for prayer is urgent. Prayer is what unfolds the will of God: salvation through judgment.

When Kneeling is Standing – Ephesians 6:18-20

Introduction

Read Ephesians 6: 10-20

I recently had the joy to meet Lydia, a 41 year old woman. I met her during the week of outreach at my church. A friend of hers had brought her to a concert in the beginning of the week, she had raised her hand to make a decision for Christ, and afterwards she had come back every night. She was thirsty for truth. During the week we befriended and had a few meaningful talks.

A week after the end of our outreach, a friend of mine and I decided to pay her a visit to see how she was doing. After just a couple minutes of talking, it was obvious to us that she wasn’t saved yet. And so we started explaining to her the Gospel message again from the beginning. And this is what she told us: “I want to believe, but I can’t. It is too difficult.” And so we went on to talk about faith and various passages in the Bible, and then the word “battle” was mentioned at one point, and she suddenly jumped on her feet and exclaimed: “Yes! A battle! That is exactly how I feel! There is a battle within me!” My friend and I looked at each other then ask her if she had dealt with the occult, and she answered yes. She told us that 22 years ago, she had done some stuff with one of her friend and that friend and told her this: “Lydia, you are going to have company.” So we took her to different passages of Scriptures again, this time dealing with occultism, and at the end, we started praying for her. (pause).

After about a minute into the prayer, we started hearing a laughter. Lydia was laughing. But it wasn’t a normal laugh. It was loud, very loud, and it sounded almost like a male’s voice. And all the sudden the room got filled with a terrible oppression and a sense of darkness surrounding us completely, just as if a murder were happening in front of us. Without thinking, I started to pray loudly with my friend in the name of Christ. The laughter continued for several minutes, as my friend and I were praying. And then it stopped. Lydia had been freed.

We live on a battlefield. And we are fighting against Satan and his legions. This is a reality. It might not always be as obvious as with Lydia, it might not be as obvious in the US as it is in other countries, but let me ask you a question: “If this is our battlefield, do you think that the US are free from demonic influence? What about The Master’s College?

This summer, about a third of the converts in our church had spiritual bondages with the occult which needed to be broken. I can tell you the stories of Lydia, Laeticia, Daniel, Véronique, Christophe. During our outreach, human sacrifices were happening in our city. Now, is it possible that there are more demons in France that there are in America? Maybe yes, maybe no.

You know, Satan is known as the father of lies, and sometimes I wonder how much influence Satan must have on a culture to make its people believe that they barely have to deal with him. The Bible is clear that we live on a battlefield where we must fight against evil spiritual forces and authorities. That is plain truth. It is our state. Now, how much influence do you think would be needed to deceive almost an entire culture in thinking that it is possible to live a Christianity of peace?

There are lies in every culture. There is no doubt about that. And when we believe in these cultural lies we are weakened. But let me tell you this: one of the worse lie we can believe in is this one: that we are not at war. Because when we believe this, we are not fighting anymore. America has been going down hill at an incredibly fast rate. And I believe it is because most people have believed that there is no war going on and have lived their Christianity as if they were in times of peace. Satan’s influence on this country is huge.

Often when we think about spiritual warfare we think about the possessed people from the times of Jesus and maybe a few remote places in Africa or Asia where stories like that are more common. But that really isn’t the main work of the demonic forces. Spiritual warfare is not mainly about exorcism. That is only a speckle on it. But it reflects the true nature of what Satan and his legions are trying to do: influence people. When people give in enough, that influence can become overpowering. But in most cases, it is very subtle.

In fact, Satan greatest technique is not so much to make us acknowledge him and worship him, but really to make us not worship God. Because the truth is that when we are not bowing down to God, that is when Satan is king, that is when he is worshiped.

Think about Jesus’ rebuke of Peter:

Mat 16:23  But he turned and said to Peter, « Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man. »

Sin does not come from Satan, it comes from within ourselves

Jas 1:14  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

Jas 1:15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Satan and his demons have in cut out to their advantage, in that they are working with sinners that produce death from within. And so all they have to do is make us believe that indulging in the flesh is ok.

But that’s when it gets more complicated. See, after a few thousand of years, demons, who are not dumb, become pretty crafty will all of these things. In fact, they are so efficient in shaping worldviews that enable people to live in the flesh that they are called teachers:

1Ti 4:1  Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

The demons are teachers. And they are pretty good at it. They know how to communicate through our own fleshly desires.

So… with that in mind….Are you fighting? If so, how do you fight?

In the passage we read, Paul was talking about the armor of the believer. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the Gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit. Pretty neat stuff. But how do you use all of this? Being equipped for the fight doesn’t necessarily make you a fighter. How do you fight? Through prayer. This is what we see in verses 18 to20. The only way we can fight is through prayer.

And this is the topic of my sermon this morning: When Kneeling is Standing.

And this is what I want you guys to remember when you leave: “Spiritual warfare can only be won through prayer.”

Piper wrote in one of his books: “We do not pray because we do not know that we are at war.” In verse 13 Paul wrote: “Take up the whole armor of God.” This is very important to notice. It is not our own. It is God’s. And the only way to access it is through our relationship with Him which happens through prayer. God is on our side, but let me tell you this: unless we fight through prayer, nothing will happen.

Keep a finger in Ephesians and turn with me in Revelation 19:7-8: “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;  it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure »– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”

This is the fulfillment of history, when the world created for Christ has been made ready for him and is finally given to him. But doesn’t it strike you; that the purity of the bride comes not from God making her pure but by the righteous deeds of the saints? Here is the point: God uses us. That’s how he chose to do it. God acts when we act. And it always starts with prayer.

You wonder why we are so easily convicted by God’s Spirit when we hear sermons on prayer? It is because it is a subject that is very important for God. Everyone here knows that he should be praying more. But the reason why we do not pray more is because we do not realize that if are at war and we must fight.

Now, praying for victory also means to pray in specific ways, and this is why we will see in verses 18-20 through six aspects of prayer.

I. Pray at all Times

The first of the six aspects is this one: Pray at all times. In fact, the Greek states: “pray through everything.” It does not mean that we must do nothing else but pray, but that we must be on prayer mode all the time. It means that we should do nothing without praying.

When the US entered World War II, every single aspect of the economy began to revolve around the war. Food and other resources were rationed, women started to work in factories to produce more weapons, rich people were asked to donate; time, energy and money were all redeemed to the maximum. Nothing was being wasted.

We should approach our prayer life the same way. Prayer is more than something that can be put on a schedule. Prayer is an attitude. We should always look for opportunities to pray. Before we work, before we

pray for our teachers, before chapel, pray for chapel band, for the speaker, and as he speaks, we should continue to pray for him that his words would touch people. When we walk through campus, we should be praying for the people that walk by. Before we do homework, we should pray that it would glorify God. Prayer is not only for big decisions. Our lives should be filled with prayer. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is to be in a constant relationship with God, having Him on our minds at all times, praying to him through everything.

Just picture one of the battle scenes in Brave Heart; Mel Gibson is killing all these bad Englishmen, and then all the sudden he stops, peaks a banana, eats it, then comes back to the fight. That would be a lame movie! We can’t stop fighting. It’s like putting a rope around our neck and waiting to get killed.

II. Pray in the Spirit

So first, we must pray at all times. Secondly, we must pray in the Spirit; which basically means to pray the right way. Praying in the Spirit is to pray with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. It means to pray in the right communion with God and in the right language. It means to pray according to the will of God. Now, what is the will of God? Paul write in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 “This is the will of God: your sanctification.” And this is what the Bible is about as Jesus prayed in John 17:17:  “Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is the truth.”

The focus of our prayers should be our sanctification and the sanctification of others. It is the will of God for his Church, a bride that is ready and sanctified. And this is what we see in the Lord’s prayer:

« Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” How can God’s name be hollowed? By sanctified people who live for His gory.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” What will happen during God’s reign? People will be sanctified. What is his will? We just saw it, our sanctification. The prayer goes on and talks about repentance and abstinence from sin; which are also part of the process of sanctification.

It is the same with Paul’s prayers. Just look at the prayers in Colossians, Philippians and Ephesians. He is always asking God to sanctify the people, opening the eyes of their hearts, filling them with knowledge, wisdom and understanding, that they may comprehend God’s love, and the hope and the power in the calling, that they may become blameless.

The main focus of our prayers should be our sanctification and the sanctification of others. It is the most important thing on this earth; and it is so because it echoes into eternity. It is right to pray for health and provision and other similar things, but even these prayers should be tainted by pleads for sanctification. We should always be praying, and as much as possible our prayers should be aimed towards sanctification. This is what we are fighting for. We’re fighting to see more of God, and this happens when people grow in sanctification and thus reflect more of his image.

We’re fighting for truth, for righteousness, for the Gospel, for salvation, for faith, for the Word of God. We’re fighting for victory in all these areas. It happens through sanctification.

III. Pray with humility

First we must pray at all times. Secondly, we must pray in the Spirit. Thirdly, we must pray with humility. Paul mentions here that we must pray with supplication, begging God for help. And that’s the heart of prayer. Prayer is nothing more than coming to God and to say: “God! I can’t do it! You do it.” It is to acknowledge our dependence to God, our reliance on Him and Him alone. It is not about us. That’s why Paul writes in verses 10-11: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God

When we pray with humility, we end up with God working in our place. Now, listen. When God created man he created him to be dependant. After creating the animals, he just sent them off to go make babies. But man, he gave him instructions on how to do things. And the reason why God made man dependant on him was so that man could reflect the fullness of God and not only parts of it.

We were created to be dependant on God. We need God. And we need him for everything. We’re all familiar with Psalm 23, right? Neat Psalm, isn’t? Well…have you ever tried to play chess with a sheep? Sheep are pretty much the opposite of intelligence.

I was talking to Kent Haney the other day, and he used to work on a ranch where they had sheep. He was telling me that at one point he had put an electric fence and was looking at how the sheep would react. By curiosity, some of them would go to the fence and get an electric charge. They would jump back, shake their heads and then go back to it again. And again, and again, and again, until someone would stop them. He also had a little lake where they would go drink. The danger with sheep is that because of their thick wool, when they fall in the water, they sink. But the problem was not that some of them would fall, but that they would deliberately jump into the water, sometimes just after being rescued from it.

Without a shepherd, sheep do not survive very long. If the shepherd does not take care of the pastures, they will eat poisoned plants and die. They get all sorts of illnesses that need attention. They have no way of defending themselves against the danger of predators. A couple months ago, I heard that 300 sheep jumped from a cliff because they were afraid of a dog.

David knew what sheep were about. He was a shepherd. He knew their need of a shepherd. He knew they couldn’t do it by themselves. Guys, it is the same with us. We need God. We can’t do anything without him. Not only we’re dependant, but we’re even depraved. And without God we are as depraved today as we were before our conversion. Don’t try to fight with your own strength. Humble yourself before God. We won’t go far in the battle with our sheep-like brains. We’re fighting against authorities, against powers that are nasty and evil. We need God’s power. We are sheep among wolves. We must run to God at all times.

IV. Pray with perseverance

First, we must pray at all times. Secondly, pray in the Spirit. Thirdly, pray with humility, fourthly, pray with perseverance. One of my favorite exemple of this is George Muller. If you haven’t read his biography, I highly recommend it. This man was a man of God, a man of faith. He took care of thousands of orphans in Bristol, England, year after year, never asking anyone else but God to provide. Two of his good friends were not believers. He prayed daily for their salvation for decades. One got saved shortly before his death, one shortly after.

We must persevere in prayer. We can’t give up. Whatever names are on your prayer list, don’t give up on them. If you don’t pray for them, who will?

It is never easy to win a battle. One must fight to the end. Hard times will come, but we must strive.

This summer, a group of Canadians came to help us, but before they went to two other cities. In the first one, a week before they arrived, the pastor was diagnosed with cancer with two other members. In the other city, the pastor had a heart attack while they were there. Just before they got to our city our two cars broke down and my mother almost died. It was at the beach. A wave took her away and it took 6 of us to bring her back. She were swimming against the current and almost didn’t make it back. When we got back we learned that a man had died at the exact same spot just two hours before.

Key people were attacked. My mom was one of them: she had fasted for over 10 days prior to our outreach. She had walked in all the streets of our 20 000 people neighborhood to pray for each single building, shop and business. And not only she had been praying, but she had also lead people into praying and fasting, organizing a 21 days fasting with the church and various prayer meetings.

If we persevere in the fight, we will see opposition. Satan will fight back. But we cannot give up.

V. Pray for all the saints

We must pray at all times, pray in the Spirit, pray with humility, pray with perseverance, and fifthly, pray for others; “making supplications for all the saints.” Personally, I think this is where we fail the most. We can very easily pray for ourselves, but how much do we pray for others? I’m sure all of us pray during the preparation of our sermons. But how much do we pray for each other? Too often we are like an army of soldiers who go together to war but we fight independently without caring for each other. This is sad.

Personally, I think that individualism is one of Satan’s most powerful deceptions in America. We have learned to be so self-centered that there is no army left. Just a bunch of Rambos who think they can do it by themselves. What kind of army is this? None of us present in this room would probably be saved if people hadn’t been praying for us.

It makes a huge difference when we pray for ourselves, doesn’t it? Do you realize that when we pray for others it makes the same difference in their lives too? Our prayers have a huge effect on people. They do. Be faithful to a prayer list and you will be amazed on how much change will happen in people throughout the years. And the beautiful thing with prayer is that when you pray for people, you will start to love them too; because you learn to ask for them what God wants for them, and you start to look at them the way God sees them.

One of the biggest lies that Satan has deceived us with is to make us believe that we have a selfish God. We don’t. It’s true that God does everything for his glory, but he still does it selflessly. When the Father creates the world, he does it for the Son and through the Son. When the Son comes on earth, he lives for the glory of the Father and through the power of the Father. And the Holy Spirit is always involved.

We picture ourselves in heaven serving God for eternity, but the truth is that God is always the first one to serve, to give, to share, to love and to seek our good. God is selfless. He revealed himself as a servant though Christ; and he is not different in heaven. We also must learn to be selfless, to stop focusing so much on ourselves. Love does not seek its own.

When is the last time you watched a movie thinking of others? Do you know that the only two references to entertainment in the Bible are the Golden Calf and Samson dancing for the Philistines?

We are in a fight, people are dying without Christ all the time and going to hell, our brothers and sisters throughout the world are always in need of prayer; what kind of soldiers are we, to forget about the rest of the army? I’m not saying that watching movies is wrong; as long as it is selfless.

VI. Ask for Prayer

We must pray at all times, pray in the Spirit, pray with humility, pray with perseverance, pray for all the saints, and finally we must ask for prayer on our behalf. We must ask for prayer. Paul writes:

[pray] also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

If you want a ministry blessed with the power of God, you must ask people to pray for you as much as possible. Nothing happens without prayer. It just doesn’t. Prayer is what makes the difference in this world. Let me be honest with you. If you don’t have people praying for your ministry, your ministry is going to be very limited. If you go fight by your own away from the rest of the army, you are going to get killed. Fight with your brothers, and make sure they get your back.

Conclusion

We live on a spiritual battlefield, and the only way we can fight is through prayer. We must pray at all times, in the Spirit, with humility, with perseverance, for all the saints, and we must ask for prayer on our behalf.

Last time I quoted a French pastor. This pastor was a very gifted preacher, probably one of the last great preachers in France. He bore a lot of fruit. But this is what he said on his deathbed: “I wish I had prayed more.” At the end of it all, he knew that what had limited his ministry was is prayer life. If there was one thing he could have changed, it would have been to pray more. The more prayer, the greater the victory.

Spiritual warfare can only be won through prayer.

Don’t wait till the end to begin to be men of God, to be men of prayer. If you want something to happen, of you want to see victory in your life, practice these things.

Romans 16:20 “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”

A Farewell Legacy – John 14:12-14

How would you feel if your best friend in town told you that they were going away tomorrow? How would you feel?

Yesterday I finished moving from the apartment where I lived to a new one. You know, getting ready to get married and stuff. Now it’s always exciting to move on to new adventures so to speak. But in the same time, it’s never easy to say goodbye. Some of my neighbors, I might just never see them again. And it’s not like it made me want to cry, but when you live around people you just get attached to them. They start growing on you. You get used to them. They kind of become part of who you are. And then you leave and there is vacuum in there.

When I was at the college I used to hang out with the international crew. Now all my best friends are all over the world. Some of them I will see again, some of them I will never see again. And sometimes when you get at the end of that semester and you have to say goodbye, it’s just hard. Some of those people you just get so close to. And then you scatter and it’s almost as a part of life had to start all over again.

Even being engaged, I would say that hardest thing is to say goodbye. It’s just hard. You know, you start filling your heart with all those joyful and happy feelings and then comes the end of the day and you have to say goodbye and it feels so unnatural and it’s as if your heart is being ripped in pieces.

But what if an angel came out of nowhere and told me: “Well, Philippe, you have met the woman you like, but now it’s time to say goodbye. So go your way, and she’ll go her way, and then when both of you die then you can get married.”

Now, without focusing on the heretical aspect of this message, just the idea in itself would just seem weird. That just wouldn’t make sense. Why would something that brings so much joy be taken away? I would tell the angel: you’re crazy I don’t like you! I’m getting ready for a wedding, not for a goodbye!

Now let’s travel back into biblical times. Let’s travel back to the times when Jesus was walking on earth, teaching the Word of God and performing signs of wonders. Let’s travel back to the times when Jesus was with His disciples: investing in them, shaping them, loving them and living life with them. Actually, let’s travel back to Jesus’ last night. To His last words. To the time when He had to tell His closest friends that the groom had to leave; to tell those disciples that were getting ready for the wedding and the coming of God’s kingdom on earth, that they had to wait. Now, place yourself in the sandals of the disciples, as we read from the Gospel of John.

Read John 14:1-21

Jesus said He would leave, but Jesus also promised that He would not leave like normal people leave. He was going to leave, but only because it was the best thing to do. Jesus had even greater plans. But to know these plans, His disciples would have to follow His directions.

This morning we are going to focus on 3 verses from this passage, verses 12-14. In these verses we are going to look at 3 instructions that Jesus gives his disciples, so that we, like them, would have hope as we await to be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I. BELIEVE

Joh 14:12  « Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Joh 14:13  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Joh 14:14  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

And here is the first instruction: Believe! This directive, Jesus gives it again and again throughout the book of John. Even here in this passage, we read in verse 1: Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” and again in verse 11: Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” In verse 15, Jesus tells His disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” But guess what commandment He is talking about? He’s been talking about believing the whole time.

In the book of John, the verb “to believe” appears close to 100 times. That’s even what John wrote when he stated the purpose of His book in John 20:31: but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

John’s purpose was that we would believe, and that we would believe fully. John had in mind that His readers would embrace the faith that gives life in the name of Christ. And not just life away from hell, but life abundant, life abiding in Christ, life full of joy and hope. Jesus’ gospel was not given so that people could simply get their souls into heaven. He wanted to bring heaven into their souls.

That faith that Jesus taught was indeed quite something. Here we are on verse 12, and Jesus insists on that faith. “Truly, truly, I say to you.” Even though Jesus has been talking about faith and believing, He still stops here to insist again on the subject. “Really, guys. Really. That’s the truth. Don’t just zone out. Listen to me. I’m speaking to you. This is very important. Let me summarize to you again my main point.”

whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

Now listen carefully, because Jesus is talking to you. It’s not only to His disciples. “Whoever believes” in Greek means… “whoever believes!” Jesus is giving a definition of what faith does, and He is giving it for all of us to apply.

And that faith concerns His person. His command is to believe in Him.

It’s kind of interesting that this passage makes me think a lot about another story from the Old Testament. That story is found in Exodus 33-34, where God tells Moses that He is about the leave. Israel just made a golden calf, and God basically tells Moses “If I stay here, I will consume all of you. I’m no longer going with you. I will send you an angel, and he will lead you to the promised land.”

And we all remember Moses’ response: “No way! If you’re not going, I’m not going! Show me your glory!”

And God to answer: “Euh…no. Actually, I will show you my back. But my face, no way. Not now. Lest you die!”

Now it is interesting to read Philip’s reaction to Jesus’ departure in a way very similar to that of Moses. We read in verse 8, “Lord, show us the Father! And it is enough”

And Jesus to answer: “What are you talking about, dummy, I am here!”

Moses, in the cloud, saw nothing compared to what the disciples saw. It’s not that Jesus is greater than God. On the contrary, Jesus says plainly in verse 28 that the Father is greater than Him. The difference was that God had not revealed Himself in the same depth, and as a result He did not expect the same response from His people.

Yes, the Israelites got to see the plagues, but the disciples got to see people being raised from the dead. The Israelites saw the sacrifices of the priests, the disciples got to see Christ crucified for their sake. The Israelites had the manna, the disciples had the bread from heaven. The Israelites had the Law, the disciples got the Sermon on the Mount. The Israelites were forbidden to go near the holy mountain, lest they would die – the disciples could touch Jesus Himself, talk with Him, ask question, hear Him speak every day.

Whatever that sight of glory that you can imagine from the Old Testament, of the heavy presence of God, of the Shekinah beaming light, of the mighty deliverance from Egypt, of the Torah and the TabernacleJesus is greater than all of these.

But listen carefully because here it becomes even better.  All those glorious things that God had done in the Old Testament paled in the light of the coming of the 2nd person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. And here we are, and Jesus is about to leave, and He is about to reveal more plainly the 3rd person of the Trinity. And guess what, it becomes even better. Because more revelation brings more glory. And when the Spirit comes, He will come with power and with purpose. He will be a Spirit of holiness and of conviction, who will pierce hearts with the powerful Gospel of Jesus-Christ.

Joh 14:12  « Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

What do you think Jesus meant by greater?

Well, we do know that it’s not a question of doing miracles that are more spectacular. I mean, I haven’t heard many people raising the dead since the days of Christ. By “greater,” did Jesus mean that we would do more works? Well, that’s not really how the word is used in the Gospel of John either, “greater” is usually used in reference to quality rather than quantity, for instance it is used to describe Jesus as greater than Jacob, then later than John the Baptist, then later than Abraham.

There have been many debates on what those “greater works” truly are. But this is what we must focus on: the greater works exist because Jesus is going to the Father. From the Old Testament to Jesus coming on earth, the glory is greater. But even on earth, Jesus was walking like a man and being limited like a man. Now, not only Jesus has been revealed, but He is in heaven with God, with no physical limitation. And now with the full revelation of the 3rd Person of the Trinity comes an even greater covenant, made possible because of Christ’s death and resurrection, the new covenant made possible because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The answer to our question is not very far. We just need to keep on reading the accounts following Christ’s departure.  It’s just a few chapters later, in the next book, the book of Acts.

Act 1:8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. »

Act 2:41  So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Act 2:46  And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

Act 2:47  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

When Jesus left, His followers were few. But after He gave His Holy Spirit, a work of conversions and salvation began throughout the world in ways that had no precedent in history of the world.

Greater works come with the greater covenant. And the Greater Covenant comes because of the Gospel. MacArthur defines the “greater works” as “the spiritual miracle of salvation” And this is the greater age we live in. We have the privilege to see drastic conversions of people turning away from their sins to embrace the living and true God. This is God’s greater work that He has in store for us. We live in an age where the glory that is potentially visible for us is greater than want was beheld by the Old Testament saints. We live under a covenant where the potential of visible glory is even greater than what the disciples of Jesus Christ saw during their life time.

Jesus is not gone, He is here, more than ever, through His Spirit indwelling His saints, and His works are greater than anything that History ever saw! Yes, the disciples got to see the cross, but they didn’t get to understand its full glory until after the Spirit was given to them. The only way they could understand the glory of the cross was by looking back, as we must do ourselves also!

When Jesus came on earth He had two very purposeful goals: make disciples and die on the cross. But now, Jesus is in heaven, with no restraint, and He is working hard! Maybe some of you wish you were back in the days of Jesus so that you could see some of His miracles. But this is Jesus’ plea for you today: believe! Believe in His awesomeness today! He is not gone. His presence has not departed. He is alive and ready to reveal His glory more than ever! The works that He did, He gives us to do them too, and even greater works.

Joh 14:21  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. »

Jesus wants to make His glory manifest to us. He wants to reveal Himself to those who believe in Him, who take His words and keeps them and love them. Jesus is not far – but here is the question: what are our expectations? What kind of Jesus are we expecting to see?

We live in a day and age where people like things that are superficial. We live in a generation that would rather follow a cool Jesus rather than a holy Jesus. We would rather have a small Jesus that meets our felt and selfish needs rather a glorious Jesus that rocks this world with power and strength. What kind of Jesus do we believe in?

How much worth you attribute to Jesus will dictate how you conduct your Christian life and how you set your expectations for your Christian life. Don’t be satisfied with so little.

There is a pattern that we see in Scriptures that is quite captivating. Yes, God is with us on every step of the road. But do you know where we see Him most? When we go the extra mile. This is why Jesus tries to help us think outside of the box here. The extra mile is what stretches our faith. It is what challenges us, what makes us grow. It’s when we step in the darkness hoping that God’s hand will catch us, it’s when we jump from the sky hoping that God will be our parachute. This is the axiom of the Christian life: God is always greater than what you think He is. God loves you more than you will always know. His goodness in His sovereign plans for your life is better than you will ever imagine. His power will always be greater than you can fathom. His grace will always abound more than you can receive. Living with God is like standing under a mile-long waterfall of blessedness.

But we won’t go the extra mile if we don’t believe that God will meet us there. We won’t take steps of faith unless we expect God to surprise us.

Believe! This is Jesus’ command. Believe in Him, in the fullness of who He is, in the beauty of His plans for your life, in the readiness of His glory to be revealed! Believe! It all starts with believing. Let us get rid of our low expectations, let us get rid of our blind eyes. Jesus is near, and His power and grace are closer than ever! And he will not refuse His Spirit to those who ask, and He gives the Spirit without measure. Without measure! May our eyes be open to believe!

II. ASK

The first instruction of Christ, as we saw in this passage, is to believe. Here is the second one: ask.

Joh 14:13  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Joh 14:14  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

First, Jesus said that this faith was for everyone who was ready to accept it. It wasn’t just for some elite disciples. Anybody can do those greater works. Secondly, Jesus insists that you can ask anything. “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do.”

Now, what do you think Jesus meant by “whatever”? Anything at all? Of course not, it is anything that we ask in His name. Basically, anything that Jesus can do, as far as His role over the created world and His role as the submitted second Person of the Trinity. Well, that is still a lot, isn’t it?

In this verse, Jesus communicates to us His heart of compassion. He is willing. If we ask things that are according to His will, that are pleasing to Him, and that are appropriate, then His only desire is to grant us our requests.

Luk 11:10  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Luk 11:11  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;

Luk 11:12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

What if you prayed God: please protect me on my way to work today? Do you think God would be like: “Hanhanhan! Let’s send some rocks falling from cliffs and drunk truck drivers falling over! Hanhhanhan! Isn’t it so much fun to be sovereign?”

Jesus’ heart is one that is full and ready to give. He has treasure-houses filled with blessings to pour on His people.

Jesus is so willing. Even for the small things. I used to live on a very busy street where there was barely any parking. And so when I would be on my way home, I would pray that God would open a parking spot close from home. God answered almost every single time. One time I had prayed, and as I got in front of my apartment there was no spot. And so I stopped in front of my home and said to God, “Ok, I am home now!” And the next second a car pulled out, giving me their spot.

Think about how many times got provided the weather you needed or helped you to be on time to an important appointment when things were not looking so good?

Now, do we need those extra little things to have a good life? We probably could live fine without them. But that’s not the point. The point is that Jesus is willing. His heart is big. He loves you. Knowing how much God cares for us should make us pray with a smile.

And He also loves His Father. We could probably live our life without praying and probably get by, like unbelievers do. But when would God get the glory? The difference between getting something through prayer and getting something without prayer, is that when you get it, you give glory to God, no matter what it is. And that’s what Jesus has in mind. He wants us to worship the Father and praise Him as much as possible! At the source of every single motivation of Christ comes a deep and profound love for His Father.

The context again here is that Jesus is about to leave. During His life on earth, all He did was for the glory of the Father. That was the passion He had instilled in His followers. He wanted them to love His Father and to give all the glory to Him.

Place yourselves again in the sandals of the disciples. Jesus had taught them so many things. He is about to leave, and here He gives them hope. He gives them a challenge, to believe, and He gives them a way to put this challenge into actions through prayer.

You know what was probably one of the most awesome things for the disciples when they received the Holy Spirit? What was awesome is that they probably could tell that the Spirit was the very presence of Jesus Christ. Their best friend, their teacher, their Messiah and Savior. I can’t imagine the joy and the peace they must have felt when they were indwelt with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. Of course they would continue to talk with Him, being in His presence! Of course they would pray, and ask many things!

It wasn’t just a force in them, it was their friend and their God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth! No wonder why they started taking over the world after He left. They knew what Jesus could do, and He was living inside of them! That’s a winning team, right there!

Jesus second instruction is simple: ask. If you want to continue experiencing the glory of God, ask. If you want to see Jesus at work, ask. If you want to be used by God, ask. Not only Jesus is willing, but He is God too!

This is why Spurgeon said that he would rather teach one man to pray than 10 men to preach. Prayer is truly where the action is. If you want God the Father to work, then you need to go in prayer in the name of Jesus the Son. It’s just the way it works. That is the pattern set in Scriptures. This is how the Father is glorified. It is through the Son. It’s been like this from creation, when the world was created through the Son for God’s glory, and it continued at the cross when the Father was glorified through Jesus Christ’s atoning death.

If you want to see God’s glory, you need to go through the Son in prayer. The Bible is clear that Jesus’ role is that of a mediator. I mean, if you want 50 bucks from me, you will be more successful having my fiancée come to ask me than do it yourself. I’m telling you, I would not be able to say no, because I love her. And it’s not that I don’t love you, but, well, you know…

Robert Murray McCheyne said on this matter: “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.”

Did you know that right now, as I am speaking, Jesus is praying for you? He is praying that these words would penetrate your heart and transform you? I know He is, I asked him and so did dozens of other people.

Listen. When you pray, Jesus prays. And when Jesus prays, the Father always hears Him.

Joh 11:41  So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, « Father, I thank you that you have heard me.

Joh 11:42  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me. »

As we are faithful to ask, God will be faithful to answer. For Jesus, this was so obvious that He was able to say “I will do it.” “You pray to me, I talk to my dad, and then I come back to you. But no worries, He likes me.”

How many deathbeds confession have been the same: “I wish I had prayed more.” (pause)

Is this going to be your confession?

Andrew Murray wrote: “The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.”  I’m not going to lie. I wish all of us would be such men and women of God.

But it’s sad. We hear messages on the greatness of prayer, and we get motivated for a while, and then we go back to our old habits. It takes more than earthly motivation to grow habits of prayer warriors. It takes conviction. Like the saying goes, “A man holds an opinion, but a conviction holds the man.” This is why Jesus was saying: “First believe, then ask!”

I hope that some of you would truly turn around the corner for a change that would last a lifetime, even today! I hope and pray that some of you would be struck with the deep conviction of God that you want to be such a man or a woman of God.

There are different stages in the Christian walk. It is easy to stay on a superficial level of just being “good people” doing “good things.” My challenge today is that we would not simply be good people, but that we would be godly people. That we would not only seek the external good of those around us, but that we would truly pray for them to reach depths that God alone knows. That we would not only participate on a superficial level to the life of the church, but that we would fully devote our hearts to prayer for the growth and holiness of the precious Bride of Jesus Christ!

This is my challenge for you today. Be that godly man! Be that godly woman! May prayerlessness be the deathbed confession of someone else’s. Let us not be the ones that miss Jesus because we feel like He said good-bye and remains faraway until we meet Him again. Let us cling to Him in prayer!

III. WATCH

So first you believe, second you ask, and thirdly, you watch. That is Jesus final instruction.

Joh 14:12  « Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Joh 14:13  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Joh 14:14  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

This is the beauty. You believe, you pray, and then you see Jesus at work. If we ask Him anything in His name, He will do it. That’s a promise.

Seeing God answer prayers is one of the most amazing things in the world. It’s amazing because God often answers prayers completely outside of what we control. This is why we must love prayer. We must love prayer because we must love to see God at work in ways that are obvious. We must love to see God doing things that He alone can do.

Think about where you are at in life. Think about this last month. What is it that God has been doing that you have no doubt – something that must have come directly from His hand. Something that you go: “Wow, this was God.”

If you can’t think of anything, let me tell you: you are missing out. But if you can think of some of these things: don’t you want more? Don’t you want to see God more?

Jesus is not gone. He promised it: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” But here is my question: do we bring Him with us where we go? I understand that once we are saved we cannot lose our salvation. That’s not what I am talking about. What I want to know is: what did you ask Jesus to do today? Did you ask Him to change someone’s life? Did you ask Him to transform you from a degree of glory to another? Did you ask Him to give you opportunities to encourage someone and be a blessing to the church body? Did you ask Him to convict unbelievers to come under the hearing of His Word?

Do you think Jesus would answer such prayers? I can tell you He would. It might require perseverance, but He probably would.

Often after hearing a sermon on the Word of God and somehow applying the truth to ourselves, instead of praying without ceasing, we go home and try to cease without praying. But that doesn’t last. It can’t last.

When you pray and wait on the Lord, what is amazing is that you don’t have to fight on your own strength. You watch; and you watch God.

Exo 14:14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. »

When I think about God’s works I often think about creation. I wish I was there. Not only because I know I would be completely blown away by seeing galaxies and forests and rivers and living creatures come to life, but also by the thought that all these things are nothing compared to the work that God is doing in the lives of His children. God created the world in 6 days. How long has He been working on you?

You think just about the complexity of the human body: there are enough blood vessels in your body to go twice around the world. You’ve got a brain that functions on the same amount of power as a 10-watt light bulb and yet it can store 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica. You’ve got a heart that beats close to 100,000 times a day and have the capacity to feel touch and pain traveling in your body at the speed of 350 feet per second!

But all of that is nothing compared to the glory that God has in store for us. It’s nothing! He has predestined us to be like Christ!

But that we would open our eyes to see!

The thought that God continues to reveal His very works to mankind is probably one of the most inspiring truths of Scriptures to my soul. It changes everything. It raises expectations to a new other level. Because when I read about what kind of works God does, I want more.

The works that Christ did, in displaying His love, preaching the truth, forgiving offenders, rejoicing in suffering, all of these He grants us to copy, and much more.

Andrew Murray wrote one time: “Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what he can do.”

The example of our faith will be our legacy to the coming generation. Will your life inspire the young people, or will it not?

You don’t want to limit God. You want Him to surprise you. So believe, ask, and then watch.

CONCLUSION

Remember Moses’ plea? “Show me your glory!” He asked to see God’s glory. That actually cost him the promised land. It cost him 40 years of his life. And he only got to see part of that glory. But it still changed his life. Turn with me to Deut 33:29 and read Moses’ last words:

Deu 33:29  Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph! Your enemies shall come fawning to you, and you shall tread upon their backs. »

When God revealed His glory to Moses, He did so only in part, but still it was by making salvation to an entire people. Moses had seen the plagues. He had seen the hand of God. He had talked to God one on one. Yet his last words were centered on the salvation of God.

Moses got to see one nation encounter the salvation of God. Now, all authority has been given us so that we would get to see that salvation throughout all the nations.

Jesus is near. He is here with His power, He is here with His love. But “Jesus” doesn’t mean “God is love.” It doesn’t mean “God is powerful.” It means “God saves.” This is what God wants to be known for. This is how He wants to manifest Himself.

God’s glory and His salvation are never too far from one another. Look at John 17:23.

Joh 17:22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,

Joh 17:23  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

“Nothing so much glorifies God as His gracious redemption of damned, hell bound sinners…Fellowship, teaching and praise are not the mission of the church but are rather the preparation of the church to fulfill its mission of winning the lost.” – John MacArthur on the Great Commission

Even that love and that glory and all that comes with it keeps pushing the same button of God’s love for the lost.

Listen. Angels get goose bumps when people get saved even though they spend their time at the altar of God’s glory.

Jesus left, but He did for the right reason. He left so that His salvation would extent to all the nations, through the work of His Holy Spirit and His saints. And if like the disciples you want to stay in touch with Jesus, then you must get into the business of loving the lost. So first, believe in who Jesus truly is and what He wants us to pursue, secondly ask in prayer!, and thirdly, watch on the front seats the outpouring of God’s glorious might in bringing salvation to the ends of the earth.

Listen. We were just talking about Moses. I love the Old Testament. It’s so intense. It’s so sobering. One of the things that I love are the genealogies. There are so extremely humbling. Because we see one generation after another after another of people whose lives made no difference, had no impact, or nothing significant enough to be talked about. And this is my challenge for you today: do you want to be known as an Arpashad, a Shelah, an Eber, a Serug? Or do you want to be a Moses or an Abraham? The greater works have been prepared beforehand for us to walk in them in faith and in prayer. Will we make a difference, or are we just one more generation?

We’ve been going through the book of Mark. In chapter 2, verse 12, people said concerning the works of Christ, “We never saw anything like this before!” Will those who watch your works and our church say the same thing? By God’s grace, may it be.