Greater Works than These
Jesus Christ told his followers that it was his Father, who dwelled in him, that did the works. He wanted them to understand the concept of the Father living in and working through Him, because the same spiritual empowerment was to be made available to them as well. He also told them that they would do greater works than the works He did.
“The words that I speak to you, I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does the works” (John 14:10). “He who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do” (verse 12). As the Father dwelt in Him, Christ said He will also dwell in His disciples - “You will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (verse 20).
It is important that we understand this concept of God dwelling in those with whom He is working because in these later times He is working with us –“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in me through their word;” (John 17:20). “I in them and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them as you have loved me.”. God is perfecting our relationship (oneness) with Him. The fact that He has the same love for us that He had for Christ shows us how serious He is. Our focus should be on working with Him to perfect the oneness so that He can work through us.
Christ expected His disciples to do “greater works than these” and they did go on to teach many more people than He was able to teach during His three and a half year ministry on this earth. If Christ expected greater works from His disciples back then, what does he expect from His disciples in this day and age? If we have the same relationship with God that both Christ and His disciples had, and if God loves us as He did them, then surely He has the same expectation of us as well? If this is the case – then what is preventing us from doing these greater works?
What is Hindering Those Works?
In Christ’s time some followers found the concept of God living in them hard to accept and simply didn’t believe what Christ told them. Because of their unbelief God couldn’t use them and they turned back and followed Christ no more (John 6:53-59, 60-66).
Do we really, honestly believe Christ when He says that He lives in us? Do we have the faith to believe that God will work through us? If not – then we should earnestly pray, believing what Christ has said, expecting Him to work through us, and it will be done (John 14:13-14)! Let not our unbelief be a hindrance to God’s work. Our focus should be on our relationship with God and knowing what He wants of us.
Paul addressed a problem in the Corinthian Church where the members had their minds on other matters. Their focus was on church politics and leadership issues and it hindered their spiritual growth. They were not dealing with problems the way they should have, and some were even taking legal action against fellow brethren (I Corinthians 1:11-12, 3:1-4, 5:1-8, 6:1).
Paul summed up their condition when he said - “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (I Corinthians 15:34). Paul was not referring to knowledge about God, he was talking about knowing the mind, the will and the purpose of the God who dwelled in them! If our focus is not on what God is doing in us, we limit what He can do through us.
If God dwells in us then His love abides in us. Christ prayed to the Father, that - “the love (agape) with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17: 26). God commanded us to extend that love to others. Love toward God and love toward neighbour are the fundamental principles on which God’s law is based (Matthew 22:37-40).
The apostle John made it very clear as to how we apply that love:
“If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love has been perfected in us” (I John 4:12),
“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (verse 16),
“If someone says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar” (verse 20),
“And this commandment we have from him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (I John 4:21).
We must love our brethren to fulfil the law (Romans 13:10). Anyone who has God’s Spirit is a brother, regardless of corporate affiliations. If we don’t love the brethren – we break the law. Transgression of the law is sin (I John 3:4). If we sin, the love of God in us waxes cold. Christ specifically warned that his would affect many of His followers - “because of lawlessness the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). Christ was talking about God’s love (agape), which is only available to those in whom God dwells. He was addressing the church - not the world when He gave this warning. Our attitude toward the brethren can prevent God from working through us.
The Book of Acts records some of the great works God accomplished through His disciples in the early church of the first century. If there are “greater works than these” to be accomplished in these later days through each of us, then we certainly don’t want to be guilty of hindering those works.
We who live in the end time cannot afford to be distracted from perfecting our oneness with God. Nor can we let His love in us wax cold. More than ever before we need to be seeking to know the mind and will of God and extending His love to our brethren so that we do not limit what can be accomplished through us.