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John 14:9-10 NLT – Jesus replied, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.”
God is revealed through Jesus.
If we want to know God, then we need to get to know Jesus. And thankfully there are four entire books of the Bible dedicated to the life of Jesus. We call them the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Through this series, we are working through the book of John and observing the way of Jesus. What we’re finding out is that the way of Jesus is different.
So, when you follow Jesus, people are going to think that you are different. But hey, we’re all different together.
Life More Abundantly
Last week, Jesus revealed that He wants us walking in abundant life now. He wants us not just to believe in Him, but to live in Him so we can experience heaven here on earth.
It’s quite common for Christians to delay the promise of abundant life. They want to push it off into heaven. And yes, you are going to have abundant life in Heaven. But Jesus wants you to have it here on earth as well!
To experience abundant life, you have to follow Jesus. You have to live in Jesus. You can’t do this thing your own way and expect to live in abundant life. You have to first submit yourself to Jesus and then you will live in abundant life.
You might be thinking, “Well, is this really true?” It works for me, so that means it will work for you. And I’m not even living in the fullness of abundant life because I’m still working on getting myself out of the way.
But what I’ve already experienced… wow. It’s amazing. And I’m going to keep pressing in because I want to live in the fullness of what God has for me. Anyone else going to pursue abundant life?
You know, when I talk about abundant life, it’s so much more than provision. That’s only a small part of what Jesus gave you. Most of us think it’s the biggest part, but that’s only because we have the wrong idea about money.
Abundant life includes healing.
We are going to correct some of our wrong thinking about money here in a bit, but first I want to remind you that abundant life also includes healing.
We learned last week that God does not make you sick. He does not give you sickness to teach you something. He does not give you sickness so that He can be glorified later on when you are healed.
Sickness does not come from God. Sickness is oppression of the devil. If you have some kind of physical ailment, I encourage you to stop saying and thinking that God wants you to have it. The devil is the only one that wants you to have it.
God sent His Word to heal you. God sent Jesus to heal you. God is in the healing business. He does not want His children sick. The idea that God gives you sickness to teach you something is a lie the devil uses to keep you sick.
Erase the lie! Replace it with truth: God wants me well and He is willing and able to heal all sickness and all disease. He’s just waiting on me to stop allowing it to continue in my life.
Why We Miss Out on Healing
Another way we often miss out on healing is because we all want it to be instantaneous. If we go up for prayer and aren’t healed in ten seconds, then we just abandon our faith and stay sick.
But we found out, in the story of Lazarus, that God doesn’t always operate on our timeline. He doesn’t always do things the way that we want them done. But the promise is always true regardless.
They wanted Lazarus to be healed. But Jesus waited too long and Lazarus ended up dying. But the promise Jesus gave was that it would not end in death.
So, after Lazarus was dead for four days, Jesus went and raised him from the dead. I’m sure his family would have rather him been healed four days before, but hey, being raised from the dead isn’t so bad.
There’s no bad way to get healed. Our role in this is to remain in faith, without doubt, regardless of what we see or how long it takes. When you receive healing, receive it and hold on to it until it manifests in the physical realm.
Just like an Amazon package. You hit “buy now” in the digital world and you know it will show up in your physical world the next day. You don’t worry and you don’t fret because you know it’s coming.
If we can have this much trust in Amazon, surely we can trust God while we wait for what we received in the spiritual realm to manifest in the physical realm.
Whew! That was a rich 5-minute recap of last week. If you are still struggling to grasp these truths, go back and listen to the full message on our website as many times as it takes. The message is called “Life More Abundantly”.
The Breaking Point
We are now at the point in the book of John where Lazarus was raised from the dead. And wouldn’t you know it, not everyone is excited about what just happened.
We went an entire message last week without getting interrupted by the fussy religious leaders. But, now they’re back.
John 11:47-48 NKJV – Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”
“If we let Jesus keep helping people, all of our rules and systems and hierarchy will become irrelevant! We will lose our bond with the crooked government if we can’t control the people.”
Y’all, God revealed something to me last year that was so amazing. Here it is:
God cannot bless any attempt to control people.
We’re talking about slavery. We’re talking about churches who try to tell their people how to wear their hair. We’re talking about the government trying to force people to wear a mask and get a vaccine.
God has nothing to do with this nonsense. He did not design us to control each other. He designed us to work alongside each other and help each other and complete each other. We’re here for each other, not to control each other.
I tell ya, humankind can be real special sometimes. We honestly think that if we could just control people by forcing them to wear a mask and get a vaccine that the virus would go away.
I’d like to say I don’t know where this comes from, but I know exactly where it comes from: hell. Anytime someone is trying to control someone else, it is rooted in hell. It’s the devil’s playbook and I’m not going to leave you in the dark.
All this time, I haven’t been able to explain my disgust with the mask mandates, and shutting down business, and closing churches, until now. All of this control is ungodly. It’s evil. It’s the devil’s playbook.
That’s why I openly speak against it. As a follower of Jesus, I’m here to share the good news AND destroy the works of the devil.
I’m not going to sit on the sidelines while our crooked government tries to control people. Instead, I am going to share the truth and set the captives free.
Someone asked me the other day, “What is it you are trying to accomplish through your messages lately?”
First of all, “I” am not trying to accomplish anything. I’m looking to God each week and asking what He wants to accomplish. And right now, He’s building an army to destroy the works of the devil. And we are part of that army.
The Plot to Kill Jesus
Back to the Pharisees. They didn’t want to give up their control over the people. They didn’t want to lose their influence. So this was the point that they got serious about killing Jesus.
They became so intent on killing Jesus, He actually had to stay out of the public eye until it was time for the crucifixion. The Pharisees even gave a command that anyone who saw Jesus had to report it so He could be seized.
This reminds me of a scene in WALL-E towards the end of the movie where his picture was on every screen throughout the spaceship because they were trying to catch him.
It’s funny how much that movie relates to what we are talking about. The earth became unlivable, so all the people went up to live in a spaceship to wait until it became livable again.
WALL-E was a robot that had been left on earth and he ended up taking a plant from earth to the spaceship to prove that it was livable again. But at this point, the people had fully submitted to the full control of the spaceship’s computer. They were completely oblivious to what was going on around them.
To no surprise, WALL-E was not welcomed by the computer because the computer didn’t want to give up it’s control over the people. So the computer did it’s best to destroy WALL-E and the plant.
WALL-E ended up down in the belly of the ship, where all the trash went to be compacted and thrown into space. But WALL-E made his way back to the top of the ship and redeemed the people by setting them free from the control of the computer and they all went back to earth.
It’s really a great movie. You should watch it if you haven’t already. But isn’t it interesting how much it parallels the life of Jesus?
Jesus came down from heaven to release us from the power of sin. And wouldn’t you know it, the ruler of this world (the devil) didn’t want to lose control over the people. So he put up his best fight.
He even used the religious people to kill Jesus. Yet, on the third day, Jesus rose again with our freedom in hand and all we have to do is believe in Jesus to walk in this freedom.
I’m getting a little ahead of myself. We’ll get to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus in just a few weeks. But back to where we are this week: The Pharisees issued a full-on attack to capture and kill Jesus.
Jesus Hides and Celebrates
Jesus went behind the scenes until it was time for the crucifixion. But He wasn’t hiding and afraid. He was actually celebrating with those closest to Him.
In John chapter 12, we find him having dinner with Lazarus, Mary, Martha and the disciples. And at this dinner, the most awesome thing happens:
John 12:3 NKJV – Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
That is beautiful. Wow! Jesus never forced anyone to worship Him. He wasn’t interested in controlling people. If He was going to be worshiped, it was because they wanted to worship.
That is exactly what is going on here. Mary worshiped Jesus in the most profound way. She gave her very best and humbled herself before Jesus. And she did it because she wanted to.
But just like when you choose to be passionate in your worship today, there will always be someone around who doesn’t like it. Take a look at what one of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, had to say about it:
John 12:5 NKJV – Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?
Back then, three hundred denarii would have been equivalent to about a year’s wages. The average person would have worked an entire year to pay for the perfume that Mary just poured on Jesus’ feet.
And Judas? He thought that was a bad use of money. And maybe you do too.
Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “They shouldn’t have bought that car. They should have given that money to the poor.” or “Do they really need a house that nice? Just imagine the good they could do with that money.”
Okay. I am just going to confess. I used to think these things too. I can remember in my early twenties, when I had barely enough money to buy groceries, I would watch my family members buy new cars and think, “Why can’t they just help me buy groceries!”
Well I am about to teach you a lesson about money that took me years to get. And if I would have never learned this lesson, I would have never found my way into God’s abundant provision.
Are you ready for this? Because it is going to hurt a little bit. But first let’s read the next verse so we can see why Judas was so upset:
John 12:6 NKJV – This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
Judas was stealing from the offering y’all! He was a greedy thief. And you know what? When you think you have the right to talk about how other people choose to spend their money, you are revealing greed in your own heart.
Only greedy people care how other people spend their money.
Oh buddy. I used to be a greedy person. But I changed and decided to become a generous person instead. Now I don’t give a flip how you spend your money. Why?
First of all, it’s none of my business. How you spend your money is your decision to make. Secondly, I am not going to be the one answering if you decide to misuse money. That’s on you.
What’s so interesting about this is that we find ourselves right back at the control problem. Judas wanted to control the money. He didn’t want other people deciding what to do with the money.
I hope someone is getting this because it could be the one thing that is holding you back from experiencing God’s abundant provision. And let me tell you, a generous life is way more enjoyable than a greedy life.
And that’s why:
To follow Jesus, I must choose generosity.
Let me make this practical for you.
The next time you catch yourself criticizing how someone else is spending money, take the thought captive and destroy it. Remind yourself, “This is none of my business.”
Instead, look at the way you spend money and ask yourself, “Am I generous?” And never hesitate to give God the most wild, unthinkable worship offering. As Mary would say, “A year’s wages to worship my Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Oh yeah! What did Jesus have to say about this outrageous offering?
John 12:7-8 NKJV – But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
This reveals a lot about how Jesus viewed money. To Him, it was not a limited resource. It wasn’t a big deal to spend a year’s wages on perfume. Because He knew there was more where that came from.
So many people are in bondage to money. Their lives are controlled by money. But changing your perspective and seeing money how Jesus sees money will break you out of that prison.
Money is not a limited resource.
You can always make more and you can multiply what you have.
And the process is really simple. Focus on serving people well and they will reward you with money. The better you serve people, the more money you will have. It’s a kingdom principle. That’s how God designed it.
On the flip side, if you join the crowd by doing the bare minimum at work, you’ll be rewarded with minimum wages. But if you constantly look for ways to serve people better, you will be rewarded with promotion.
If your income is pitiful, you need to do an honest evaluation of yourself. Have I given in to the status quo, just doing enough to keep my job? Am I serving people the same way everyone else is serving people?
Or am I serving people as if I was serving God? Am I giving my best? Am I going above and beyond? Am I learning new skills so I will be more valuable to the business I work for?
You can probably tell that I love talking about money. Because if God’s people can see money the way that He does, wow! It’ll enable us to make a bigger difference than we could ever imagine.
- Are you making a decision today that you are going to choose generosity?
- Are you done with fussing about how other people spend their money?
- Are you going to start finding ways to serve people better?
This is how we live abundant life. We must get to a place where we don’t look to our job to serve us, but we go to work to serve other people. And yes, I am even talking about serving your bone-headed boss.
When our focus is to serve others, it will come back to us multiplied. In the words of Jesus:
Luke 6:38 NKJV – Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.
In case you are still not getting it, Jesus has yet another parable that makes it plain and clear:
John 12:24-25 NKJV – Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
What’s Jesus saying? If you want to experience abundant life, you have to first die to yourself. When you take me, myself, and I to the grave and bury it, your life will then multiply and produce much fruit.
If you think you can maintain self and experience abundant life, you are going to be sorely disappointed with all the time you wasted. Instead, die to yourself and live to serve God and serve others. The outcome is abundant life.
Jesus goes on to explain what this looks like:
John 12:26 NKJV – If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
When you die to self and serve Jesus and follow Jesus, you are going to be right there with Jesus. Seated in heavenly places. You will be honored by God Himself.
And just think, most people choose to live a greedy, selfish life and miss out on this. What a bummer.
Now we’ve come full circle. We started by talking about how God cannot bless when someone tries to control someone else. Now we’ve found out that God cannot bless when we try to control our own life. So…
To follow Jesus, I must give Him control.
Are you tired of trying to control your own life?
Invite Jesus not just to be your Savior, but be the Lord of your life. Ask Him to lead your life. Submit yourself to His authority.