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April 5, 2022 12:00 am
Jesus' disciples were a curious bunch who asked a lot of questions. And it's good they did too, because if they hadn't asked some of the questions back then, we might not have the answers today. So join Stephen in this message as he examines some of the most troubling questions before giving us the timeless answers.
Whatever you ask in my name, that will I do great.! Let's go wait: that the father may be glorified in the son. The main purpose of prayer. Ladies and gentlemen is not to get us out of trouble.
If that were the case, then God to be treated like I'm afraid many of us treat him like a genie in the bottle is is labeled prayer and we rub that bottle or that lamp, and God the genie appears with the words and what do you wish mess the gospel of John we have a record of the disciples having some questions for Jesus. Their curiosity is great news for us. Oftentimes the questions they asked Jesus reflect our own questions and the answers Jesus gives provides help to our own souls. Today we look at a passage where Philip had a question for the Lord Stevens going to ask and answer 12 additional questions. This is wisdom for the heart. Stephen Devi is calling this lesson troublesome questions, timeless answers.
Let's join him for this message right now you know by now if you been studying with us the disciples hearts are troubled their hurting or frustrated. Jesus Christ is just informed them that the there is a betrayer in the room that there is a denier in their courageous lion hearted Peter he will turn chicken and run and he himself the most troubling news of all will leave them alone and they are troubled and worried and so this gospel account is we've been studying. It is nothing more than a rapidfire panic stricken dialogue between frightened disciples and they a gentle yet firm master. So far in this study we have seen Peter and we have heard him ask question Lord where you going in Peter and in the Lord answered Peter by saying I'm going to the father's house and I'm going to add on a waiting for you.
Then we heard the next question come from the lips of Thomas who said, Lord, how do we get to the father's house and he said well I will tell you the way.
But I will be for you. The way now it's Philip's turn to raise his hand and that's what will pick up our study. In John chapter 14 verse eight Philip raises his hand as it were.
NASA question that's really a request. Philip said to him, Lord, show us the father and it is enough for us, which is a classic statement because you could summarize this question by, or request saying this, Lord you you just told us that you're going to leave us and go someplace we've never seen or never been, and then we – do I get there and you respond by telling us were not to give you directions on to give you a detailed map. I will be in the map and within you said that you will be leaving. So how do we follow you, we can say go to place where we can see as well just show us the father give us a visible and tangible.
Something to hang our hats of faith on what you just give us a vision please and I'm sure all of the other fellows chipped in yellow Lord what you would you show us something show us the fall.
If you do that'll that'll satisfy us. That'll be enough in a voice that I think was probably firm yet gentle Jesus response to Philip and to the others in verse nine have I been so long with you and if you have not come to know me, Philip. He was seen me has seen the father. How do you say show us the father, do you not believe that I am the father and the father is in me by the way, there isn't a stronger passage on the deity of Jesus Christ than this one here you want to see the father you're looking at you want to see God look at me.
I noticed the latter part of the verse, verse 10. The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own initiative, but the father abiding in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the father. The father in me otherwise believe on account of the works himself. You hear me speak Jesus and hearing the words of God. See the works that I do your observing the works of God. We are one and the same.
What I want to do is ask and answer a number of questions and they were intended by way of answer to reassure the apostles hearts. And I think they'll reassure ours as well. The first question is this what tangible things did Christ remind Philip of that could reassure his heart and in the process reassure our hearts as well get your pencils out or your pens and be ready to underline her Circle two words in your Bible because they were for him, and they are for us today hear the tangible things. There are two of them.
The first part of verse 10. The words that I say to you circle the word words the latter part of verse 11. Otherwise believe on account of the works themselves.
These are the tangible hooks upon which you can hang your shield of faith the words and works of Christ because when you see those works.
You are seeing the works of God. When you hear those words. You are hearing the word of God and we have the same assurance ourselves, so Jesus Christ is assuring Philip that he has the same thing that we can assure our hearts that we have today is words and his works.
Question number two will we as Christ's disciples be able to do greater miracles than Christ did look back at your Bible's the first part of verse 12, Jesus says, truly, truly, I say to you, he believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also and greater works than these shall he do because I go to the father. Wow. Can I expect to know what Christ did die because blind people to see lame people walk could I could I expect to go to Lake Jordan and the walk on top of the water. Could I could I take bread and fish and multiplied to feed all of you after the service today that what he saying. Seems like that's what he say let me say something in which you listen carefully. While I believe that God is today performing miracles in wonderful ways.
I do not believe there are miracle workers working today is one country preacher would say that's a whole another subject and and will get into that as we enter the book of acts together.
But let's let's answer the dilemma here in this passage, Jesus says, look at it you will be able to do greater things that I have done. That's probably why because is he saying that I the creature will be stronger and more powerful than he, the creator. I will do more powerful things. Yes, that's what he saying is, the question is what is Jesus mean by the word greater. You will do greater works. It seems to me that our discussion should hinge upon the word greater. What does he mean and if it is the same. Then we could expect to stay for lunch. I would hate to disappoint you. The word greater. Let me give you a couple of thoughts does not refer to more powerful miracles where I could expect to heal you or the word greater refers to greater in first of all kind greater in kind meal Jesus healed a leper but that leper would through age have skin that would again wrinkle and ultimately perish, but if you like. Dr. Philip Yancey is a disciple of Christ leads that leper to faith in Jesus Christ. Though his skin will again wrinkle. He will await to a new body that is a greater miracle greater in kind, Lazarus, Jesus called from the time which would be the distinguishing miracle of the of the Messiah. He was able to have power over the grave he would bring the life, Lazarus would have to die again, but if you could take a person and bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, that person will spiritually never die would live forever in the father's house next greater than what he did with his three and half years of healing think that's part of it now to give you a second thought. We will do greater works not only in kind. But in breath if you study the ministry of Jesus Christ will soon discover that his ministry was incredibly small.
He traveled about 100 miles north to south 40 miles east to west. He never preached outside of Palestine. Great nations and countries China Europe never heard him preach and they never heard his message and when he laughed. He had a group of scared disciples when he hung on the cross and when he ascended, there were about 100+ the end of his ministry. You would not consider all that great. In fact, his ministry was so limited that the famous agnostic David Hume would pick up on that and he would scour the Christian faith by writing things like this, it is immoral for God to expect the whole world to believe something that was limited to such a small area of the world given in such a short span of time and only one culture for us. We know that Jesus Christ earthly ministry was like dropping a huge rock in a pond in the limited. Initially the ripples from that impact will reach every shore and what we are doing as it were, is fulfilling the words of Jesus Christ. We are involved in something greater in so that this very day member of our church's ministry in the Ukraine for a week with our missionaries on this day we are in we are impacting inter-indirectly by our support ministry and in Japan we are reaching into the lives of American natives in it on an Indian reservation in Canada were reaching San Salvador aliens for the cause of Jesus Christ were reaching in the hearts of French servicemen into law. We are involved in something far greater extent Palestine. The ripples are reaching the rest of the world.
Jesus is in effect and you and I as his disciples will be involved in things far greater in kind and in breath and don't overlook the last part of that verse by the way, he said because I go back to the father to you and I will do great things, not because of our great faith but because of his great faithfulness and interceding for us as we work for him. Now that introduces us to this next and troubling. Equally troubling verse. Initially, we look at verse 13 we scratch our heads and ask other questions, whatever you ask in my name, Jesus said, that will I do that the father may be glorified in the sun. If you ask me anything in my name I will do it exciting.
And we ought to stop now to start asking will Jesus give us anything we ask in faith believing, and what if we got her to a morning agree with his will. That really get his attention will be given to us then hold your finger there and turn over. Just a page to chapter 16, there is a parallel passage of Scripture that we will deal with only in our study today because it relates to the same discussion in chapter 16 verse 23 in that day you will ask me no questions like are doing now. But truly, truly, I say to you if you shall ask the father for anything. He will give it to you in my name until now you have not asked you have asked for nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy might be full fully answer the question is been raised. Let me just have you noticed something you a circle in your Bibles what Jesus says here you shall ask father circle. The father go back to chapter 14 verse 14 Jesus says if you will ask me just another subtle expression of the role of the father and son are interchangeable. They are both part of the three-part tide or that three Trinity, God. Now back to the question will Jesus give us anything we ask for, well, you have to notice in this passage is good students to qualifications, your ready qualification number one, we must pray in Jesus's name. I will talk about that more in a moment, but for now Jesus is saying something far deeper and and greater than saying no luck. I was an attack on to the end of all of your prayers to the father. The words in Jesus name, amen. By the way that the biblical expression and this is where it comes from. We pray our prayer and we say in Jesus name, amen. Is that what he saying some new formula know he's suggesting something that will hold us accountable to the fact that we are going to God by the authority of Jesus Christ.
This is so you no longer have to go through priest you can go directly to God the father yourself, but you're getting it because of the what has gone before. The father, son, the Lord Jesus to pray in Jesus's name is like this is like praying your prayer and at the end signing the name of Jesus. Qualification number two, we must pursue God's glory. I look back in chapter 14 in verse 13, whatever you ask in my name, that will I do great.! Let's go wait hold on, that the father may be glorified in the son.
The main purpose of prayer. Ladies and gentlemen is not to get us out of trouble. To avoid pain to make life more comfortable if that were the case, then God to be treated like I'm afraid many of us treat him like a genie and the bottle is is labeled prayer and we rub that bottle or that lamp and God genie appears with the words and what do you wish master. We have reversed a more practical question than would be this one. How do we know if were really praying in Jesus's name or not, can you really tell. We look back in verse 13 and you have to understand Jesus is revealing a completely new truth to these disciples. Remember Jesus taught them how to pray in Matthew chapter 6 and he told them to pray to the father now is coming along and is adding to that, he saying that when you pray to the father. You pray in Jesus's name are you praying and in my name. So how do you know if you get outside those words in the Lord's prayer, the disciples prayer properly put you if you're really praying in Jesus's name is the question. Let me give you a number of suggestions. First of all, are you even qualified to pray. That's right. Are you qualified to go to the father, according to God's word. Someone who has never received Jesus Christ as personal Savior is not qualified to pray.
In fact he says in John nine turn to John chapter 9 verse 31. This was a traditional Finnic teaching and they probably got it from what David wrote in Psalm 34 but look what it says. We know that God does not hear sinners in God's mind that we are all as it were sinners.
There are those of us who had our sins forgiven and he says here he will not hear those whose sins have never been forgiven, but if anyone is God-fearing and does his well this is the will of the father that you be say he hears David wrote in Psalm chapter 34 verse 15 the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous. He hears the cry of the righteous. I've said it before and I believe it's true that until you come to Jesus Christ in faith receiving as it were.
His name for your life Christian while you may believe that God is answer to million of your prayers. He has yet to hear any of them. The first prayer he will hear is Lord save me and then you adopt that name is your own and you become at that point a Christian and until you claim that name for life. You cannot name the name of Christ in prayer say is that fair well I have news. Not only is he is he unavailable for those who do not believe he is unavailable to those who believe but cherish sin, disobedient believers. David wrote, if I regard iniquity in my heart will not hear my prayer. Now we all go to God with sin because we are sinful. Does that mean I to be perfect before I can ever go to got another key word is regard. If I regard iniquity in my heart the word. The Hebrew word regard means to cherish and to defend forget prayer your praying to the sky. The question could be asked are you qualified to pray, secondly, are you praying with pure motives.
The test of a prayer is whether or not Jesus would pray the prayer praying in Jesus's name means praying the prayer and signing his name to it as if he would pray. That means that we have to pray prayers that would honor God and and bring glory to God not bring glory to ourselves or make our lives any more comfortable than we might think they ought to be. So you and I go to God and if we had an audience with him right at this moment would he be to us like Santa Claus or like a genie or what I request the Lord. How can I bring you glory question number three.
Are you demanding God's timetable met your own. Why were always in a hurry as our answered prayers will make life easier.
So the majority of our praying perhaps could be for the comfort of our own lives as I would Jesus would praying well, let's go back to Jesus praying, there he is in the garden, struggling as it were, with the predesigned plan of the triune God that he will die a terrible death and as man. He struggles and he prayed and as he prayed, tiny corpuscles underneath his skin burst and blood from his pores along with sweat. He is in agony and he ends it by saying that I will be done, not mine now was prayer to him a means of circumventing pain.
No prayer to him was a means of preparing for pain. It was a way to get through pain, so much so that the writer of Hebrews could say that Jesus Christ is a man learned obedience through the things he suffered. Number four. Are we more concerned with our requests to God that our relationship with God.
George McDonnell writes this way was one of God knows prayer to be the thing we need first and most. What is the main object or idea of prayer in the heart of God is a supplying of our great and endless need, the need of himself. Hunger may drive a runaway child home, and he may or may not be set at once, but he needs his parents more than he needs his dinner communion with God, then, is the one neither the soul beyond every other.
I just want to be with you. I want to commune with you. I want to be like you and I will bring glory to you.
Praying in Jesus's name, along with all of those needs and pains and hurts and dreams that we bring to him. That is our motive and our design we want to be like number five.
Are you requesting that God respond in the way you are expecting. In other words, do you believe that God needs to answer in one way anybody figured out what that one way would be then we are not praying in Jesus's name because we are in a sense, Artie telling him here it is. Now you respond like this.
Question number six. Are you more interested in what God will give you then and what God will do in you century ago a man preach to his congregation by the name of Phillips Brooks.
I've enjoyed reading him. Let me give you his words to his congregation. He said this don't pray for easy lives pray to be stronger people don't pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks, then the doing of your work will be no miracle you will be the miracle. It's interesting that Jesus Christ prepared his disciples, not by teaching them how to hold campaigns. He never taught his disciples, homiletics 101 how to preach, but he did teach his disciples how to pray. So, than prayers in the lining of my will to God's will. I am more interested in what God is going to do inside of me and what he will do for me and that's how it should be for all of us. I am often asked about prayer and and I've I think of myself and I got give you this illustration of being a rowboat and without any orders and there's no way that I can guide this vessel and I'm drifting but I do have in that little rowboat with me a long rope tied to the side and on the end of that rope is an anchor and I muster up all of the springs that I have an eye. I take that anchor tonight. I wind it out and then I heated toward shore 15 or 20 feet away and it hits it sinks patches and I begin to pull myself with this rope until I'm safe.
Sure, let me ask you, did I pull the shore toward me or did I pull myself to shore. C. Prayer is taking your will, your little rowboat your life and pulling yourself to the shore of God's design. Number seven are you really expecting God to be listening. Now ask yourself that are you really expecting God to be listening or is this just part of the devotional discipline that all good Christians clock in for 15 minutes or so and do, do you really expect him to be listening. Do you really expect Christ to be interceding. Do you really expect an answer to be forthcoming. I think the faith of a child can teach us a lot. I've seen it in my kids and it's so easy to become theological and deep, but I leave with an understanding that when they pray and your children and you hear them in Sunday school or whatever they expect God to be listening. Question number eight. This is the last one that I give you.
Are you willing to become the answer to your own prayer or provide for the Navy maybe want you to buy a bag of groceries. Lord encourage the saints in the ministry maybe want you to write a letter learn all those missionaries we support. Would you bless them. Maybe he want you to become one and go. The greatest thrill in praying is not necessarily receiving an answer, but becoming the answer and maybe you've seen it happen and it is a joy. Well, the disciples are troubled, and Jesus intends to bring healing to their hearts. So he tells them about their future home in heaven.
This is the father's house. He tells them that he is the way so that they have that future home. Then he says you have an ongoing present privilege and that is you can pray to the father directly, but go in my name and ask for God's glory to be revealed.
And he said in chapter 16, if you will do that as my disciples.
Your joy will be full when you go to God you have trouble and pain and sorrow hopes and dreams and all of those you will have trouble come in your life you will get sick perhaps loved ones will pass away dreams may not be fulfilled. The same thing that happened in the disciples, lives centuries ago.
How will you and I respond by complaining against God with our perspective or going to God in Jesus's name and asking for his glory to be revealed in and through us. And when you go in Jesus's name, and you ask that magnificent peers he will never leave you empty and more importantly he will never leave that will bring healing to troubled like yours. I hope that this look at these troublesome questions has helped you today.
Did you know that we have a section on our website where Stephen answers listener questions will we do and if you navigate to our website which is wisdom online.org you'll find our section of Bible questions in our message library. I think you might enjoy browsing through their there's dozens of questions that other listeners have asked and the answers that Stephen has provided from God's word.
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