Jesus said we would do greater works than He was doing. John 14:12, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
When He went to the Father, He was given all authority and sent the Holy Spirit. Because of that, we should expect to do greater works! If we don’t expect to, then we won’t. If we think we can’t, we’re right. If we think we can, we’re right! If we don’t do work, then we won’t do greater works. Work requires work. To do greater works, we will have to step out of our comfort zone in faith and do extraordinary things. Asking (prayer) must precede the doing!
The lines around our comfort zone are drawn by fear and doubt, which cause inactivity (laziness). Preaching the gospel and making disciples, doing "greater works" doesn’t take place in our comfort zone. Fear and doubt will keep us from doing anything! Doing little or nothing becomes comfortable.
God’s word tells the faithful repeatedly not to fear. Fear is never of God, unless it involves sin, rebellion and lack of faith in Him. There are only a couple of good reasons to fear, and even then "love will drive out" even that fear. 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect (complete) love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
We are warned in Romans 13:4 But if you do what is evil, be afraid... And, in Matthew 10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (See also Luke 12:4-5).
A growing love relationship with God eliminates fear. God is a patient and merciful God. The words translated fear in both the Old and New Testaments can mean terror or reverence. Fear of doing evil is wise. Fear of God is wise. But, "fear" of God turns from terror to deep reverence when we put our faith in His merciful love.
Fear causes us to expect negative results that feel like punishment. A lack of complete love causes fear, which leads to inaction and stops spiritual growth (fruit bearing). The more love matures, the more we will overcome fear. Love includes God’s mercy for us and our mercy for others.
When we really love someone, we do not fear to take great action to love them. When we know God's love and mercy, mistakes will no longer feel like punishment. Shortcomings will become steppingstones to learning and growth.
Because of love, we will do greater things that we were afraid to do before. Complete love begins with experiencing and embracing God's merciful love for us. We then learn to forgive ourselves. Then it grows outward to others from God, through us. We become a conduit of His love.
In Luke 18 Jesus taught about the effectiveness of persistent prayer. He closed that teaching with this statement, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Our limited expectations are based on fear and doubt, a lack of knowledge of God’s love and mercy. Therefore, we lack faith in His love. We can seek to learn to trust in His love.
Because of Jesus’s promise that we would do "greater works", we should ask and expect to be able to do great works in faith, as He leads. Fear and doubt and an immature relationship with Him will keep us from doing anything!
Jesus warned with some parables what would happen if we let fear and doubt paralyze us from doing greater works. These stories are just analogies. They aren't meant to teach that God is a harsh taskmaster. They are meant to teach us to move beyond fear and doubt. They encourage us to take bold action in faith!
In Matthew 24 and 25, and Luke 19, Jesus told these parables about the Kingdom of God that indicate that we should be working to be productive, to do greater works with what He has given us. A couple of them were very similar; the parable of the bags of gold and another about increasing money through investments.
Some of the servants increased the gold and money that was given to them to invest. Some doubled, some increased it five times and some even ten times! The ones that produced the most increase, or growth, were rewarded the most.
Greater works were rewarded greatly. Note: Work does not earn us salvation! Salvation is an undeserved gift. Work done for the Lord is a result of love, gratitude and faith. This work is done to glorify God. It results in complete joy and an increase in lasting spiritual fruit. (1 John 1:3-4 and John 15:7-8)
Some, through fear and doubt, did nothing with what they were given. They took no risks and did no work. Even what they started off with was taken from them and given to those who had produced the most increase; those who did the greater works.
Listen to the fear and doubt: Matt 25:24 “Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”
In Luke 19 he told another parable. In this one the servants were told to do business with a small sum of money; to work with it in order to increase it. Listen to this fearful doubter in Luke 19:20 "… 'Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.' 22 "He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? 23 'Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?'”
Are we burying what God gave us in a hole, or hiding it in a handkerchief in fear and doubt? A maturing love relationship with God "drives out fear". Building any love relationship takes work. It takes effort and time.
It’s interesting to note something that is in both stories. Those who produced the increase of the original investment given to them were allowed to keep the original investment and the increases. "Greater works" were expected and rewarded.
We are very prone to stay in our “comfort zone” established by fear and doubt. In that small zone, we take little action. That's where Satan wants us to stay. He fears what will take place, if we leave that zone! Greater works cannot be done from inside that zone defined by fear and doubt! Through the power of the Holy Spirit outside that zone, the potential for “greater works”, or accomplishment, is unlimited!
Jesus said He expected us to do "greater works than these", because He was going to the Father. In faith and belief, not fear and doubt, we should expect no less. Acting on faith takes us out of our passive comfort zone and into the active power zone of faith, in the authority of Jesus's name! That is power through the Holy Spirit living in us!
Ephesians 3:16 ... He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (The removal of fear and doubt removes the limitations! "All" indicates no limitations.) 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Most people severely limit their own accomplishments with low expectations, due to fear and doubt. We can raise our expectations in faith for anything we do. We can accomplish much more at whatever work we do within His will. That includes our family dynamics, our friendships, our careers and businesses and anything else our “hands find to do with all our might”, to paraphrase King Solomon.
With spiritual maturity in a love relationship with God, everything that we do will include showing other people God's love. Our lives will be lived in the power zone of faith!
If we expect to accomplish much more in doing God’s will ("greater works"), we will need to expect to do many times more focused activity to reach those lofty goals. Many who hear that will simply walk out of the equation, because lethargy, fear and doubt will limit the motivation. That’s a choice we each must make. Faith requires decision and decision leads to action.
To expect in faith to do greater works, we must expect to have to take massive action as a result of that belief. Jesus promised to empower the work, making the burden light. (Matthew 11:30 and Philippians 2:13) But, to do "greater works", as Jesus promised, we must take greater action!
Here is the ultimate massive action based on faith that brings massive results. Luke 9:23 “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” That is sacrificial love!
Putting our personal, fallen nature of man on the cross daily and having sacrificial love is a relentless, persistent pursuit of God’s will. It is secured by faith and the massive love of God. It provides complete freedom from fear and doubt. Real freedom anchored by Truth!
Here is the massive result of that kind of massive action based on faith. Paul said in Gal. 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Paul living by faith resulted in Christ producing the massive action of sacrifical love through his life. Remember that faith is the gift of God. Action is the result of faith. With no action, there is no faith. (James 2:26) Without faith, there is fear, doubt and no effective action. “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"
Even Jesus Himself had to have faith in the Father for His massive actions to be successful. Jesus talked about His massive action based on His faith in John 5:17 "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." In verse 19: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does."
What the Son did and still does through us today is massive action based on faith with massive results through His massive sacrificial love. Verse 20 "For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.”
Jesus wasn’t talking about doing busy work. Again, He said, “he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” That’s focused work that results from a love relationship. Again, He said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Without the relationship, the works are busy work that we do on our own. Glory to the Father through the Son, lasting fruit and complete joy will not come from busy work done on our own.
Matt 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you…’ ” There was no close relationship there. The works were without fruit, because the love relationship was missing. They were using Jesus's name without permission, because they did not love Him and keep His commandments.
In John 9:4 Jesus said, "We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 "While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world."
Keeping His commandments requires action based on that love relationship and seeing what He is doing around us. Doing greater works in Jesus's name is “massive action” done by faith that accomplishes God’s will on earth. It is all dependent on massive love.
In massive, powerful faith, we can declare by the authority of Jesus's name that God’s will is to be done with massive results. Those results glorify God in the Son, cause lasting spiritual fruit to be born and complete joy.
We have a God who said, “Ask whatever you will and I will give it to you”? How much "greater works" should we expect to accomplish in all aspects of this life He has given to us, especially the command to preach the gospel and make disciples? How much more should we expect to do when we have God "who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think"? (Ephesians 3:20)
Jesus Himself said several times, “All things are possible with God, for those who believe." (Matt 19:26, Mark 9:23; 10:27; and 14:36) Let me quote, motivational speaker and author, Brian Tracey, “There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking.” Self-limiting thoughts paralyze us.
When we stop putting limits on ourselves and couple it with the authority of the name of Jesus, we can take actions with incredible outcomes! However, massive expectations will require massive, focused, faithful activity on our part. Philippians 2:13 "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."
It is our responsibility to act to bring the kingdom of God near to people now (Luke 10:9-11), in the midst of Satan’s temporary realm here on earth. God will bless Spirit-led work done in faith with massive effects. Our family dynamics, our businesses, our careers and even our recreation should all focus on living and sharing life principles that bring truth and freedom to people in a relationship with Him. We should not separate anything we do from the spiritual realm.
Greater work is done through believing faith in Jesus's promises, His love, and the authority of His name. We can progressively learn through mentorship to walk in the guidance of His Spirit. We will progressively learn to pray His will be done with the authority given to us in Jesus's name. Together with Jesus, we "will do greater works than these"!