“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he also and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”(John 14:12)
In this passage of Scripture, Jesus tells believers that He will give them power to do Greater Works than He did during His earthly ministry.
As the book of Acts records, the ministry of Jesus Christ did continue through the Church after His ascension. Jesus gave the Church power on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and that power to be a witness of Christ has continued to be manifested to the world throughout the centuries.
Since the new covenant is still in affect today, the modern Church should experience and demonstrate that same power that was evident in the ministry of Jesus Christ and the early Church.
The Works of Jesus Christ
Matthew 4:23 states that Jesus went about teaching and preaching the Gospel and healing all manner of disease. All four Gospels detail these miraculous works. He cast out demon spirits, He raised the dead, He restored sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, etc.
Preaching and teaching the Gospel was His means of leading the unsaved into the salvation experience and instructing them in the ways of God so they could live a righteous life and serve God. His great miracles were meant to deliver humanity from the devastating effects of sin and the powers of darkness.
Jesus commissioned the Church to do the same works He did. He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” He goes on to describe the power He would give the Church to perform this tremendous task. He said, “In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents [take authority over demon spirits], and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them [protect them from enemies of the Gospel]; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:15, 17-18).
These are the works that should be done in the Church today and this is the power that should be exhibited in its ranks. Unfortunately, even with a cursory view, anyone can see that the modern Church, for the most part, little resembles the Spiritfilled Church of the book of Acts and the epistles.
Many modern day Christians judge the success of a ministry on the number of people that attend church, the amount of money in the offering on Sunday, the number of programs a church conducts, ad infinitum. But, God judges the success of a ministry on the number of people saved and delivered by the power of His Holy Spirit. In other words, when people are truly saved, baptized in the Holy Spirit, healed and delivered, then and only then is the work of God actually being accomplished.
The preaching of the Gospel will always be followed by the deliverance of people from sin, sickness and Satan; that is, when it is preached in Truth, anointed by the Holy Spirit and accepted by the people. Where people are not truly delivered and the powerful works of Jesus Christ are not truly done, the Church is not serving its purpose to itself or the world. Very few will be delivered from evil in the Christian Church if its members do not accept the Word of God regarding the power of God that it should have and should be manifested amongst His people.
The Purpose of the Church
In the fourth chapter of his epistle to the Church in Ephesus, Paul outlines the purpose of the Church. He said that Jesus gave the Church leadership when He called and placed apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the Church. The purposes of these ministers are to perfect the saints, do the work of the ministry and edify the body of Christ.
“The perfecting of the saints” pertains to the spiritual growth of believers in the faith. Ministers should lead Christians into a greater understa Work of the Ministry (these works) Edification of the Body of Christ lievers. Ministers are called to lead Christians to a greater understanding of the Word of God, which will lead them to a better relationship with the Lord. Ministers must teach Christians about the power of the grace of God which gives them victory over sin and true purpose in this life.
The “work of the ministry” pertains to the will of God for the Church to be a witness of Jesus Christ to the world. Every Christian is called to be a part of the work of God (I Corinthians 12). This does not mean that all will be preachers or teachers, but that all should be led by the Holy Spirit to contribute to the success of the ministry into which God leads them.
The “edifying of the body” pertains to the will of God for each Christian within the Church. Christians are called to support one another, to be used of God in the gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12) and to help one another overcome the trials and temptations of this world.
None of these purposes can be accomplished without the power of the Holy Spirit.
So how does a Christian receive power to do Greater Works and fulfill the will of God for their lives?
The Baptism in the Holy Ghost
The last message Jesus preached to His disciples before His ascension is recorded in Chapter 1 of the book of Acts.
Jesus commanded them to wait in Jerusalem for “the promise of the Father.” He said, “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” This promise was prophesied in Isaiah 28:11-12, in Joel 2:28-29 and by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11.
Jesus then told the disciples the purpose of the baptism in the Holy Ghost. He said, “But ye shall receive POWER after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This is the power Jesus said he would give believers so they would be able to do Greater Works.
The reason that the power of God is not evident in most churches today is because most Christians reject Jesus’ commandment to receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost. Most do not even accept this as a true Biblical doctrine. So let’s examine this from the Scriptures.
The Day of Pentecost
The following examples will substantiate the doctrine of the baptism in the Holy Ghost:
(1) “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).
(2) “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God [accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour], they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were [water] baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:14-17).
(3) “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.” (Acts 10:44-46)
(4) “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, “John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.” Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?” (Acts 11:15-17)
(5) “He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost…And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:2, 6).
(6) “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.” (I Corinthians 14:18)
(7) “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” (I Corinthians 14:39)
Understanding the Baptism in
the Holy Ghost
We can learn a lot about the baptism in the Holy Ghost from these passages. For example, you:
(1) Must accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour before you can receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. (John 14:17)
The Initial Physical Evidence of
the Baptism in the Holy Ghost
(2) Must realize that Jesus commanded every believer to seek for and receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost. (Acts 1:4-5)
(3) Will speak in an unknown language (that is, a language you did not learn). (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 11:17; 19:6; I Corinthians 14:39)
(4) Will worship and pray in tongues. This will provide you a rest and refreshing. (Isaiah 28:12; I Corinthians 14:4)
(5) “Shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” (Acts 1:8)
Jesus has commissioned the Church to take the Gospel to the whole world and has given the Church the power to do so. This power enables the servants of God to lead people to salvation and deliverance.
This message is for the entire Church, not just for those who are called “pentecostal”. Those who obey Christ’s command to receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost will see Greater Works done in their lives and in their ministries. The only question that remains is the question posed by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2)
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dreams your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)