June 18, 2017, The Perfect Fruit - Matthew Craig

June 21, 2017
  1. Jesus is my model for life and ministry.
  2. We underestimate what God wants to do through us.

 

Conclusion #3 — Jesus is my model for life and ministry.

Ian Thomas used to always say that Jesus “became Man as God

intended man to be.” As the last Adam, Jesus did what Adam failed

to do: “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even

death on the cross” (Phil 2:8)! Jesus fully obeyed and became that

“life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). Jesus did what Adam failed

to do—obeyed fully. He was man as God intended man to be.

As a result, we often compare Jesus to ourselves, when in reality

Jesus was more like Adam before he sinned than He was like us.

While Jesus was sinless, and we will never be sinless this side

of glory, we should sin less. Because Jesus was what Adam failed

to be, therefore Jesus was fully justified when He said, “do what

I have done” and “walk as I have walked.” In His humanity, Jesus

showed us how to live as humans: fully dependent, fully obedient,

fully reliant upon the Word of God, Spirit of God and prayer. Jesus

was man as God intended man to be; therefore, He is my model

for life and ministry. Jesus was sinless while we are sinful. But as

we mature, we should sin less. When in doubt, don’t ask WWJD

(What Would Jesus Do), but first study to see WDJD (What Did

Jesus Do). Jesus showed us how to live in a sin-soaked world and

He did it perfectly.

This is why I never tire of studying not only what Jesus did, but

how Jesus did what He did. He is my model for life and ministry.

We should not just study the message of Jesus (which is a lifelong

process), but we need to study His methods and the model of His

life. We still need to follow the real Jesus who was fully human

and showed us how to live life. It is no accident that the Gospel

of John starts with “Follow me” (John 1:43) and ends with

“You must follow me” (John 21:22).

 

Conclusion #4 — We underestimate what God wants to do through us.

On two occasions, Jesus marveled at the great faith of two people—

the Canaanite woman and the centurion (Matt. 8:10, 15:28). But

on seven different occasions, Jesus rebuked His disciples for their

lack of faith (Matt. 6:30, 8:26, 13:58, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20; Mark

16:14). He challenged them, saying, “Are you so dull?” (Mark 7:18).

Throughout the life of Christ, you find Jesus challenging His

disciples to trust Him for every issue in life. Listen to these verses:

n “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the

Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his

harvest field” (Matt. 10:37–38).

n “ ‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘Truly I tell you, if

anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,”

and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they

say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you,

whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it,

and it will be yours’ ” (Mark 11:22–24).

And then, in the context of Jesus telling us how everything He did

was done through His Father living in Him, Jesus says: “Very truly

I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been

doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am

going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name,

so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me

for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12–13).

And then a little while later, Jesus reiterates: “Very truly I tell you,

my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now

you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will

receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:23–24).

In Matthew 17:14–21, a man brings his demon-possessed son

to Jesus. The man said that he had asked the disciples to drive out

the spirit, but they could not. Jesus, with grief in His heart said

(probably to His disciples directly), “You unbelieving and perverse

generation . . . how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I

put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Then the disciples

asked Jesus, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied: “Because

you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small

as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here

to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

I personally believe that the greatest grief we bring to the heart

of Jesus is our lack of dependence upon Him in all areas of life.

We were created not to be independent but dependent. Sin

THE HUMANITY of JESUS 9

is independence—the opposite of dependence upon the Father.

Scripture says that: “without faith it is impossible to please God”

and “everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Heb. 11:6;

Rom. 14:23). These are strong statements. In His last message

to His disciples, on six occasions Jesus told them to just ask!

Now, what are you depending upon God for in your life? As I study

Christ’s life and listen to His words, my own faith and dependence

upon the Father is challenged.

 

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