Prophetic Warning: JESUS... ALONE!
Faith Isn't Just "Hanging On"
Thursday Night, December 7, 1989
A few days ago something happened that could be described as prophetic. The substance and the warning of it all basically boiled down to something that God wants absolutely clear in every single heart in this room. He wants it saturating your mind and your thoughts and your responses to everything. This subject has shown up in about a dozen individual situations since then, but I’m positive that it has application for the Church as a whole.
You’ll remember that the disciples said, “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” What were they really wanting? What did they expect? What did they demand from Jesus? It seems clear that they thought that what they had wasn’t enough. What was it that they wanted that would be enough for them? What was it that they had in their minds that they thought they would run after and get? What were they begging God to show them?
Let’s see if I can’t try to put this into words. Father, we pray to You that if this has application to us, You would bring clarification to each of our hearts as to what it’s about. I know the ramifications of not getting hold of this are devastating and far reaching into every family. I know that it’s Your heart and desire to awaken us all to these things. So I pray, Father, that You would help us now to grab hold of them and to apply them in our lives.
What Are We Looking For?
I was talking to someone a couple of days ago who was talking about being faithful. This same conversation had already taken place several times in several different ways. We were talking about how there’s one way to be faithful where we’re not feeling anything and circumstances aren’t the way we want them to be right now. But we say, “That’s okay. We’ll be faithful until it gets to be the way we want it to be.”
That way of thinking may be a minor step up from just despairing and dragging our feet until somehow we get a new level of adrenaline, but there is a kind of faith that isn’t like that. There is a faith that isn’t just a hanging on, isn’t just “being faithful” with a long face because after all, we don’t have any adrenaline or anything lighting our fire at the moment. But we’re being faithful anyway. We moan and groan and make it through by thinking, “We just need to be faithful; we’re in a dry time right now.”
It doesn’t need to be that way. We can have an energy that comes from being totally dedicated to the historical fact that Jesus died and rose again, and He is coming back. See, faithfulness until the dry times are over implies that I am demanding something else from God. I want something else. “I want the Father, and that will be enough.” “I want something else out of it and I’m not content with the way it is. But I’ll hang on with the slim hope that maybe someday it will be better. Maybe someday I’ll feel more spiritual and good things will happen. I’ll just well up inside with good things happening.”
Jesus said it very clearly, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” He overcame death; He overcame sin and He holds the keys of death and Hades. It is a fact: He is coming back. He is coming back on the clouds the same way He left. It is a fact.
What Jesus Has Done is More Than Enough for Us
Now, you can hang on in faithfulness waiting for an experience to happen to you again or waiting to feel an experience for the first time, or, instead, you can say, “It is a historically documented fact that 2,000 years ago Jesus rose from the dead. He did this after He had already established Himself as being a force to be reckoned with by these facts: walking on water, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, healing the sick, and calming the storms.” He did anything and everything He wanted to do at the Father’s beckoning because God said, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him.” Listen to Him. Obey Him. Walk with Him. “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”
The facts are the facts. Faithfulness isn’t some kind of substitute for feeling until you get the feeling back. Faithfulness is obedience because God is God and it is so! The sign of Jonah is sufficient: three days and three nights in the belly of the earth. Then, God confirmed His servant Jesus, raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand forever and forever and forever. He has given Him the name above every name. It is so. It is finished.
That’s a different kind of faithfulness than hanging on until I feel something and thinking, “Well, I’ll just do the right things. If I keep on doing the right things, then maybe it will turn out all right.” God doesn’t need us to do any more right things. When Philip said, “Show us the Father and that will be enough,” Jesus replied, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” I’ve done My work. I have accomplished what I have come to accomplish. I humiliated the principalities and powers. “It is finished.” The cross and all that the cross represents is a historical fact, as well as a hope for the future. No matter what you ever feel, no matter what happens inside of your head or inside of your belly, no matter if your backbone gets shivers up and down it or your words ever come out in some powerful way (which is just not necessarily going to happen)—it doesn’t matter anyway. Trust your life to the God who died for you. Period. Go on because He is coming back and that’s the blessed hope. And if you happen to groan, as the creation itself groans, until He returns, until you see Him face to face, know this: when you see Him face to face, you’ll be like Him. You’ll see Him as He is. The work of the redemption of your body, your soul and your spirit will be accomplished.
In the meantime, don’t bypass something that is so precious and so important and so powerful by looking for something else. Don’t be movement-oriented; be Jesus-oriented. Don’t be things or feeling-oriented; be Jesus-oriented. Being Jesus-oriented doesn’t mean that you have to feel something; being Jesus-oriented means that you believe with all your heart that God has shown Himself in the face of Jesus Christ. “And now there is one mediator between God and man. He sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and is an advocate before the Father on your behalf.” These things are facts. You need to establish yourself in these facts and stand on these facts. That is the only way you will ever walk in the courage and the hope that He means for you to walk in. Faith isn’t waiting or hanging on until you feel something. Faith is establishing yourself on the fact of Jesus Christ and all that He has done.
If you need to add something to the work of Jesus Christ; if you feel you have to have something beyond what Jesus had accomplished when He said, “It is finished,” then you are really making a mistake. Even though God does wonderful things, it’s a wicked and adulterous generation that demands a sign beyond the sign of Jonah. Don’t demand that. Walk forward in courage expecting God to confirm His Word, but don’t demand anything else. You’ll be surprised at how freeing; how liberating that is.
Jesus is Enough for Anybody, Anytime
There’s a guy that I met early one morning a couple of weeks ago at a local park. He’s a cocaine dealer and a number of other things. After I talked with him awhile, I went away from the conversation frustrated because I couldn’t find any words and what I did say sounded dumb. I don’t think he knew that, but it did. Well, he called me a couple of days ago, and I saw him again yesterday. I was very prayerful about it knowing how I bungled it the first time.
He is this super-cool guy with all the jargon. He is just one of those guys with whom there is no way to compete. Anyway, God really did give me utterance yesterday. I was really, really impressed with God, because God shattered the guy’s coolness. He got right to the core of things even through my bungled, vain attempts just a couple of weeks earlier. It was really a powerful time.
Earlier, the guy told me he had some CAT scans and other tests done because of this massive pain on one side of his head. He said the doctors had never been able to find anything. He also said that the pain happens particularly when it’s raining. Of course, yesterday it had been raining all day. Well, we had just one more real piercing thought that was really just God, for sure and he started to walk away and push the door closed. But then he reopened the door and walked back around. He said something like, “You’re not going to believe this, but the whole time we were together, my headache was totally gone.” I kind of grinned and said something like, “Fancy that.” Then he said, “No really! It’s totally gone.” And I said, “Well, think about it.” He closed the door and went on.
I use that as an illustration because I didn’t demand that of God. I didn’t make that happen. How could I have made that happen? But somehow God did, in the simplicity of just saying, “Look John, here’s the way it is—you’ve tried everything else and so have I. Here’s the way it is.” In the midst of just saying, “The sign of Jonah is all you get,” God made something special happen. It needs to come back to the simplicity of just saying: “Jesus is enough for anybody, anytime—and you too. I offer you nothing but the risen Lord. I offer you nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That’s it. It’s settled. That’s all. If that is not enough for you, then nothing ever will be. I’m not dangling anything in front of you. I’m proclaiming a risen Lord, forgiveness of sins, and life in His name. Period.” God works through that.
But He had to work some stuff out of me to be able to have done that. I went into that first round nose to nose with John and tried to be as cool as he was. I had a mindset of how I was going to show him a thing or two, and I got butchered. He ran circles around me. My head was spinning by the end of it all. He was just too cool. I couldn’t deal with it. But when I emptied myself of that and said, “Look, I’ve got one thing to say, ‘Jesus Christ, Him crucified, Him raised: He is standing in glory at the Father’s right hand and the trumpet is at Gabriel’s lips—and you better be ready.’” Then I was as surprised as John was. I wasn’t really surprised about his headache being gone as much as I was just grinning about it. It was the product of God demonstrating simplicity; the simplicity that God works through.
No Demands—Just Jesus
I say all of that to say: “Yes, there is more—God does do more.” But it only comes when we’re fully devoted to the one thing. It comes when we put behind us every demand we have of God. We put behind us every expectation that God would do something marvelous to make us do this, to make us feel this way, to solve this problem, and that problem, too. Jesus said, “What else do you want, Peter? What else do you want, Philip? When you’ve seen Me, you have seen the Father. When you have Me—you have everything. You have the Door, you have the Vine, you have the Resurrection, you have the Life. You have everything when you have Me.” Don’t be looking for other things—Jesus plus something. You have heard that phrase used in regard to your faith: faith plus anything is an abomination. If you have to add something to your faith in Jesus, then it can’t be right.
I want to say this about a walk with God. Jesus plus anything; a demand of anything beyond Jesus is wrong. Anything beyond our names being written by the Lamb’s blood in the Book of Life is a faulty expectation, and God will have to purge you of that. Don’t be looking for a movement or a feeling; but simply acknowledge that what God did 2,000 years ago is sufficient for you. It is finished. God dying for you is sufficient. Is it not?
It’s a historical fact. This is the work of God: to believe on the One whom He sent. Don’t put demands on God. Don’t demand signs from Him in your own personal life; just trust Him implicitly. Though He slay you, still trust Him. Fall down and worship Him when the worst things that could possibly happen end up happening. Do not have a faithfulness until somehow God makes you feel better; but have a faithfulness because His work is finished. I don’t put any demands on God for the Church or for my own personal life beyond the work of Jesus Christ, which historically began 2,000 years ago, and was historically completed in Jesus by His blood.
That was what was tied into the warning that came a few days ago. I dare say that anybody who would demand more than the foundation of Jesus Christ to place their faith in and to base their life on, anyone that would demand more than that in their own personal lives or even in the Church, will go through some severe trials, because God wants nothing but His Son elevated and exalted.
I say that as a warning because probably the most severe internal warning of my life so far, came just a few days ago, and was all related to that. So rest your case in Christ; settle it forever. When you have seen Jesus, you’ve seen the Father. It is enough for you to share in the life of God by the blood of Christ.
He is ALL You Need—Settle It!
The primary thing I am saying to us as individuals is this: don’t say things like “I want to feel good. I demand to feel spiritual. If I don’t feel spiritual, then I am going to shake my finger at God. I’m going to whine and complain. I am going to make sure everybody else is miserable with me if I don’t feel spiritual. I have my rights, you know. My right is to feel spiritual. So, just watch out. If I’m not bursting with joy, energy, peace, the utterance of God and fruitfulness at every turn, then I’m going to make all of the rest of you miserable. I’m going to go from person to person and cry on everybody’s shoulders. I’m going to threaten to leave. I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that. It’ll be a big issue.” Settle that issue with Jesus Christ and His cross. Period. Every single heart must be settled on faith in Jesus Christ no matter what else happens in your life, good or bad. Forget those things. Settle it completely by faith in Jesus Christ and His life and His death and His return. That’s the primary thing that I am saying.
Take it very seriously individually, because I announce to you as clearly as I can, without any particulars, that there will be massive devastation if you demand more than Jesus Christ. We’re at the point where it’s just very serious. Take it very seriously, personally, no matter what else. If you never see another person in this room after you walk out of here tonight, make sure that Jesus is what your life is about and that you’re not wavering one bit. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever; therefore, your faith is not shaken by any facts.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth who walked on this earth and then died so that you could live, and who is seated at the Father’s right hand, is all you need. Nothing will shake you from that, no matter what it is. Family, friends, possessions: absolutely nothing will cause you to turn back. You’ll not be a hypocrite; you’ll not live in two worlds. You’ll not sell-out for anything or anybody. You’re going forward based on that one thing, no matter what. No feelings will in any way, shape or form, set you back, or turn you aside. No cost will be too high.
Our Father, I know these are words of the simplest nature, of the most basic and foundational first principles. But you’ve placed a real gravity on my heart about making sure that everyone has heard this at least one more time. So, Father, seeing that this is the second testimony, I pray that everyone would be fully attentive. I pray, Father that there wouldn’t be anyone who thinks they are beyond this or above it or an exception to it. Instead, I pray that each of us would be fully turned toward You and be absolutely resolved that we need nothing except Your Son. We’re grateful for anything else that You may do for us, in us, and through us. The only issue that really matters though, is that You sent Your Son, and we fully trust in that. That’s Your work and our work. So we cast our lot with Him forever and will not turn aside. Amen.
I know it’s simple, but I have just felt the need to say this in the clearest of terms so that everyone would have a chance to resolve it one more time.