Limiting Jesusí Power to Save
Imagine if you had the ability to save a life, and letís say that you went to a hospital to save the life of a mother of five kids. While you have the power to save, she has to be willing to be saved. Imagine that you arrive by her bedside and you tell her how you can save her, but she ignores you and tells you to go away. Can you imagine how frustrating that would be? After all, all she has to do is be willing to allow you save her so that she can continue to be there for her children.
Now put yourself in Jesusí shoes, and imagine how frustrating it must be for Him to know that He has the power to save millions of people from their sins and all people have to do is to accept the salvation He offers with an obedient faith, yet millions ignore Him and tell him to go away. While Jesus has all the power of God, His hands are tied when we refuse to listen to Him because He will not force salvation on us because God created us with a free will.
We must choose to appreciate how Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and we must choose to obey His will. His invitation to us can be heard loud and clear in Scriptures:
Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.† 29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.† 30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."† †
Those who refuse to accept Jesusí invitation will never receive the benefit of His death, burial, and resurrection. To them, Jesusí death was done in vain. Those who refuse to listen to such passages as:
Mark 16:16 †He who believes and is baptized will be saved;
Acts 2:38 †Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
They will be lost forever and will have to face the judgment of God as:
2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,† 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.† 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
Please understand that if you have never obeyed Jesusí commands on how to be saved, you only have yourself to blame because you did not allow Jesus to save you. To refuse the power Jesus has to save you, makes as much sense as that mother with five kids who refused to be saved.
Not only do those who refuse to accept the salvation Jesus offers frustrate Him, but so do some Christians. In fact, there are many ways in which Christians can figuratively tie the hand of Jesus and limit the power He has to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others.
One way that we do this is by refusing to be transformed as Paul said,
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.† 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. †
Ephesians 4:20 But you have not so learned Christ,† 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:† 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,† 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,† 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
We are taught to continue to grow in the knowledge and the grace of our Lord, but many refuse to do this. Even though God allows us to grow whatever way we choose, the less you try to transform your thoughts to His thoughts, the more you tie the hands of Jesus and limit the power He could have in your life.
Some parents in this room can understand this idea from Jesus perspective. Most parents have gained much wisdom over the years that they can teach their children so they can be more prepared for adulthood then we were. But the problem we run into sometimes is that our children arenít always willing to learn from our wisdom because they think we are a bunch of dummies and so they try things on their own, which usually makes them find out that mom and dad were right in the first place. If this has happened to you, you know how frustrating it is to have your hands tied and not be able to talk sense into your child.
Thatís exactly how I see Jesus. He wants the best for us and He wants us to become spiritually mature as soon as we can so that we can fight off sin easier and be more confident in our Christianity. But when we refuse to grow, all Jesus can do is watch and wait and hope that we will start taking our Christianity serious.
Of course the key to transforming our minds to Christ is by reading, studying, and meditating on Godís Word. As Peter said:
1 Peter 2:2 †as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.
James 1:21Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.†
1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,† 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,† 24 because "All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away,† 25 But the word of the LORD endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
If you want to become a mature Christian and you want to have an easier time at dealing with the temptations in your life and to be pleasing to God, then learn from His wisdom by reading, studying, and meditating on His Word. We only make things more difficult for ourselves when we neglect the Word of God because it has all the answers to our problems. As Paul said:
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,† 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.†
2 Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue
If you have been neglecting the Word of God, then you are not growing as you should and you have tied the hands of Jesus, so why not change you ways starting today so that Jesusí hands can be freed and be able to help you grow in knowledge and grace of our Lord. The power to do this is within you, but only you can choose the right path.
Another area that frustrates Jesus and ties His hands is when Christians refuse to pray. One of the reasons that Jesus became a man and died for us was so that He could become our high priest:
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.† 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Jesus knows all about our temptations, and He is the best qualified at understanding things from our perspective, and He understand how important prayer is, which is why He given us the power of prayer:
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.† 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.† 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.†
Not only did Jesus give us the ability to come boldly to thrown of grace in our time of need, we also learn that Jesus loves it when pray to the Father because:
Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.†
Jesus loves to make intercession for us because He loves us, and He wants what is best for us, but if we refuse to pray, then He cannot make intercession for us. Even though our Father in heaven knows what we want before we ask, He will not give it to us until we ask for it. Again think how frustrating it must be for Jesus to know that He can make intercession for you and change your life for the better, but His hands are tied when you are to stubborn to pray.
So, if you have not been praying to God as you should, I want to encourage you to change you prayer life and realize that Jesus wants to help you by making intercession for you to the Father. He wants your prayers to be answered, He wants you to be a successful Christian, but again, you have the power to either keep the hands of Jesus tied or to free them.
Another area that frustrates Jesus and ties His hands is when we refuse to do our part in the body of Christ. Paul says:
Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,† 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.† 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:
Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ --† 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
You and I, we make up the body of Christ, but Jesus is the head of that body. Imagine what would happen if you only had a head. While the head is important, without a body the head can do very little, which is why it is critical the you and I choose to do our part in the body of Christ.
Far to many times some Christians have to be an arm, a leg, and hand because, they have to pull double or triple duty to make up for other Christians in the body who choose not to pull their load. Just like you can pull a muscle in your body when you over do it, it can cause that Christian who is trying draw up the slack of others to become frustrated and discouraged.
Another way to look at this is when you choose not to do your part in the body of Christ it is like you are making the body of Christ handicap. When the body of Christ is not functioning as it should, the less effective it will be. Again, its like tying the hands of Jesus or in some cases trying to make him function without hands or feet.
If we want the body of Christ to be successful, then we must all do our part to make function at its best. So, if you have been hindering the body of Christ, I hope you start helping it function better starting today.
There are many more areas that we could look at that frustrate Jesus and limit His power, but I would like to look one more for our lesson this morning and has to do with refusing to share the Gospel with lost.
We need to understand that Jesus has made us His hands and spokesmen when it comes sharing His saving grace with others. As Jesus said in The Great Commission:
Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,† 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.†
Mark 16:15† And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.† 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
1 Peter 2:9 †But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
God has chosen us to be the ones that are to spread the good news about Jesus. No one in the Godhead teaches us directly and angels are no longer being used to give messages to people because God has put that responsibility on us. If we choose not tell people about Jesus or if we do not show people what Jesus is like by our example, then we are tying the hands of Jesus and His power to save.
Let me illustrate it this way. Letís pretend you are farmer and you have plenty of land to sow your seed in, but what happens if you never sow the seed? Obviously, you are not going to grow anything. God has provided us the seed, which is His Word, so we cannot say we have nothing to work with. And we can know that when we sow the seed of Godís Word that it will accomplish it task as Isaiah said:
Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Godís Word will never have the chance to change peopleís lives if we do not sow it. As Paul said:
1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.† 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.† 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.† 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building.
Our responsibility as Christians is to teach others about God by word and by our examples. When we fail to in this area, again, we are tying the hands of Jesus and we are not allowing others to have access the power of Jesus so they can be saved.
It is very comforting to us to know that we are saved, but our thoughts cannot end there because we must actively seek the lost that are around us as Paul said:
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.† 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.††
We need to think about the millions if not billions of lost souls that are in our world right now that are waiting to here the good news of Jesus Christ, but the only way most of them will find out about the Jesusí power to save is by a Christian untying the hands of Jesus by proclaiming the good news to that lost soul by their words and by their example.
If you discover that you are limiting the power of Jesus in this area, why not decide today to allow Jesus to be able to work in the lives of others through you by you actively seeking the lost.
I hope all us do our best to stop frustrating Jesus and allow Him to make the biggest impact in our lives and in others by allowing Him to save us, transform us, and use us to grow the kingdom of God by sharing Godís word with those around us.