Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Flesh Profits Nothing

Probably the most common reason people erroneously think they will spend eternity in heaven is for being a good person. Certainly, we are to be doers of God’s word. Yet Jesus did not base His worthiness on the good works He did on earth but simply followed the Father’s instructions. The gospel of John in particular has many Scriptures emphasizing this truth...

“Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” - John 5:19

“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” - John 5:30

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.” - John 8:28 

“If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God.” - John 8:54

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” - John 15:5 

Jesus also said in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” Many times people do seemingly good things out of their own strength without seeing positive results. One example in the Bible can be found in John 21...

3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 
4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
They answered Him, “No.”
6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

Peter was called to preach the gospel but briefly went back into fishing after denying the Lord. Jesus still helped him make a miraculous catch of 153 fish. Peter was soon restored and later on the Day of Pentecost preached a sermon that resulted in 3,000 salvations (Acts 2:41).

A few times I’ve been in financial need on the mission field and attempted to do things to bring in money without success. One night I found myself stranded in San Antonio and tried contacting a friend who had recently offered to send a donation towards my next Germany trip. I wanted to use the money instead to get me out of Texas. Despite making several phone calls, I couldn’t reach my friend. To make a long story short, God kept me in San Antonio for a couple of more weeks to do street ministry there until donations came in from other sources that enabled me to leave town.

I’ve met fellow missionaries who were heavily in debt at the time the Lord instructed them to walk away from their jobs but eventually became debt-free. One of them is a former chiropractor who has carried a wooden cross in various cities (à la Arthur Blessitt). At one point this man briefly returned to secular work wanting to make payments towards his debts. None of those jobs he landed worked out. Not long after making a firm decision to resume carrying the cross, a couple approached him offering to pay off all his debts. In an instant, this missionary was cleared of a $167,000 debt load. 

Smith Wigglesworth once said, “You must come to see how wonderful you are in God and how helpless you are in yourself.” Philippians 4:13 tells us we can do “all things through Christ” who strengthens us. Colossians 1:10 says we are to be “fruitful in every good work.” So if your life isn’t progressing like it should, ask the Lord where you may be missing it. A simple act of obedience can bring the sudden breakthrough you’ve been believing for.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” - Psalm 127:1

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