Knowing, Doing, and Praying

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Good morning once again. It's great to be with you this morning. I had planned for weeks on preaching about absolute truth today, in response to questions in our culture. However, this week it just wasn't coming together and I realized what I needed was to bring you a message of hope and encouragement in your walk with the Lord and for our church as a whole. God knows that I need this message and He has been good to lead the way in this. Let's get into it. Go ahead and open your Bibles to John chapter 14.
It has been said that religion is man's attempt to reach up and grasp God but that the gospel is God reaching down to rescue man. As we read through the Bible, we are confronted with the comparison between religion and the gospel. Any system that teaches that we have the ability to save ourselves is a false religion.
Please understand that Christianity is a religion but the gospel is what sets it apart from every other world religion. Every other world religion is a reaching up. But in Christianity we have God reaching down, actually coming and dwelling among His creation. The gospel tells us that our only hope for salvation is outside of ourselves. You can see in the Old Testament how religion fails people. Israel fell into the trap of assuming they could earn salvation by keeping the law.
In Isaiah 29:13 we see Isaiah, the great prophet condemn them for living this assumption that they could earn their salvation by keeping the law.
Isaiah 29:13 ESV
13 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
They were living as if their works could somehow justify them before God. They tried to draw near to God with their mouths and honor him with their lips but their hearts, we find out, were far from HIm. They were trying to be good enough to earn God's favor. As if they could somehow keep the Ten Commandments He would have some kind of favor on them because they did so good...
In the New Testament, Jesus steps into this culture and interacts with the religious elites of the day. You can see the contrast of the Gospel and works based religion in these interactions.
The religious leaders did a lot of very religious things. We would see them today as being very good "church people." They gave a portion of everything they owned down to the herbs and spices from their gardens. They fasted multiple times and memorized a bunch of Scripture. In all of this, their goal was to earn God's favor.
Jesus told them and would have us understand as well that earning this favor is impossible. So in place of empty religion that was centered on man, He offered them the Gospel.
Through the gospel, Jesus’s followers are promised reconciliation with God through faith in Him and not through their work or effort.
We couldn’t do it so Jesus did it in our place. Jesus spends time in John chapter 14 reminding his followers that He is doing for them what they cannot do for themselves.
Up to this point the disciples had been on quite a ride.
- Jesus, their Master and teacher, washed their feet like a servant.
- Jesus warned that there was a traitor among them.
- Peter got shot down as he proclaims his loyalty to Jesus.
- They just found out that Jesus is leaving and they cannot go with Him.
At the beginning of chapter 14 He gave them good news. He promised that He would come back and get them so they can be with Him for all eternity. He also, explains that He is the way by which they can get to the Father.
Let's pick it up in verse 7 of John Chapter 14.
Read John 14:7-14
John 14:7–14 ESV
7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

I. Know Jesus, Know God

Once again we hear Jesus doing something that would get Him in trouble with the religious leaders of the day. We see Him here equating Himself with God. He links the Father and the Son. If they know Jesus, He says they will also know the Father. To know one is to know the other. Jesus wants them to know that they don't have to wait till heaven to know the Father. They could know Him personally right now. We can know Him personally right now. The ONLY way to the Father is Jesus. Knowledge of Jesus is the door to true knowing of the Father.
In the gospel of John, the word "know" is used 141 times but it does not always carry the same meaning. There are four levels of knowing in John.

1. Knowing a fact

The first level of knowing is knowing a fact. My name is Kenneth. Two plus two is four. There are two genders. These are facts. That is the first level of knowing.

2. To understand the truth behind the fact.

The second level of knowing is to understand the underling truth behind said fact. It is to know why this is true and how it is true.

3. Relational knowing

The third level of knowing introduces relationship. To know means to believe in a person and become related to them.

4. Deeper communion/relationship

The fourth level of knowing in John is to have this deeper relationship with a person, a deeper communion with them. This is the level that Paul was referring to in Philippians 3:10.
Philippians 3:10 ESV
10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Jesus would go on to describe this deeper level later in chapter 14 of John. It was actually a benefit for Jesus to go away in that His disciples would experience a greater intimacy of relationship with Him. For Him to go away was better for them than Him staying. Their relationship would deepen because they would have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Of course, they didn't understand this yet.
To know Jesus is to know the Father and to see Jesus is to see the Father.

A. See Jesus, See the Father

D.A. Carson points out that at one level Philip and the others truly did know Jesus and therefore in the Son they had seen the Father. But they did not recognize it yet. As highly as they thought about Jesus, they didn't grasp yet that in Jesus God had made Himself known. He goes on to say that to the extent that this was still beyond the disciples, they did not know Jesus Himself very well. So Philip asks for direct access. He wants an immediate display of God Himself.
Many have desired to see God as He is. However, that would kill you. Moses wanted this.
Exodus 33:18–20 ESV
18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
Jesus asks a question in verse 9 of John 14 that has a touch of sadness to it. His opposition don't recognize who He is because they've not been taught by God and have not listened to the Father. But those who are the closes to Him still display a similar ignorance of His identity even though they are loyal to him. In this they are giving a view to their spiritual blindness.
Even though they have been with Jesus a long time, it did not mean they were guaranteed to have the deepest insight into who Jesus was. They still didn't comprehend. How many are in our churches who are around Christians and Christian teaching and fellowship who think they understand but their lives hint at an underlying spiritual blindness?
In the beginning of this gospel of John, the author had made it clear that though in former times God had made Himself known, that now, in Jesus, He has definitely, gloriously, and visibly made Himself known. It's about Jesus. You don't get the Father without Jesus.
That is knowing. Now we turn our attention to doing. We should be about doing the things that Jesus did.

II. Do the works Jesus does.

What could possibly be meant by this? What are greater works than these that Jesus did? I believe this verse is wildly misused by some. Let's start with asking, what makes these works so great?


Jesus calms and comforts the fears of His disciples by assuring them that He is not withdrawing from them.
Carter and Wredburg comment that, "He's going on ahead of them but will continue to actively work in them. He is going to heaven, and from there He will supply them with infinite resources. The power He will supply them will be seen through greater works and through answered prayer."

Greater Works

Here Jesus is not just saying that the 12 disciples will do greater works. He says, in verse 12, “the one who believes in me”.
• Greater can not mean “more spectacular”, as some have suggested. If so more spectacular than water to wine, healing lame and sick, or maybe raising someone who had been dead four days.
• So it cannot mean more spectacular.
• Look at the promise in the larger context of God’s plan of redemption... because that is its setting for it all. The works they would do are not greater as in more spectacular but greater in extent. I believe this greater comes in four ways.
1. Greater geographically
2. Greater ethnically - Jews AND Gentiles
3. Greater numerically
4. Greater spiritually
Here is where it gets even more awesome. William Barclay writes, “The triumphs of the message of the Cross were even greater than the triumphs of Jesus in the days of his flesh.” Jesus raised physically from the dead but the disciples were able to see people who were spiritually dead come to life.
(Carson???) A great mistake here is made by people when we try to contrast the works of Jesus with the works of His disciples or His followers. The contrast is between the works that Jesus did while here on earth and the works that He is currently accomplishing from heaven through his followers here on earth. These are works that Jesus is doing still through His followers. This is not stuff that His people alone are doing.
In this passage we have Knowing, Doing, and now we come to Praying. That is just the way it comes in the passage and is in no way a statement of which is more important. In fact, if you truly know Jesus, you will want to do what He does, and you'll want to talk to the Father. And we do this in Jesus's name.

III. Praying in Fatih, in Jesus's name

The Spirit's power is seen in greater works but will be evident through answered prayer.
What does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus?
What it isn't:
Not a magic formula
Not some kind of incantation
Praying in the name of Jesus is praying in line with His will. This is submitted obedience.
John 14:15 ESV
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Praying in Jesus's name is praying with the understanding that the thing you are bringing before Jesus, your request, is one that Jesus would put His name on too. Carter and Wredburg add that "it's a request that if answered, would show the world who God is and what He cares about."
• Hudson Taylor was a well known missionary to China. He once said,
“I used to ask God to help me. Then, I asked Him if I might help Him. Finally, I ended up asking Him to do his work in me and through me, if He would be so pleased.” - Hudson Taylor
We ought to pray the things of Jesus, in Jesus's name, and pray expecting an answer.
In his book Desiring God, John Piper wrote this:
"Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that He will provide the help we need. Prayer humbles us as needy and exalts God as wealthy." - John Piper
We are going to end this time with a time of prayer. Many of you stayed for our meeting last week about the financial needs in our church. We have been praying that God would come through because we believe that Dixon needs Hope Bible Fellowship and its gospel ministry. God has placed us here as a body of believers. He has called me here as the shepherd of this flock. So we have been praying. We are praying for new families to join us who are obedient givers. We have been praying for God to provide. This week He has begun and I want to give you an example of what He has started doing.
Read note from Mt. Morris church.
God has given us a vision for a gospel centered church in Dixon and He is moving to support that. Throughout the history of the church, God supports the work of His church by the generosity of those who are blessed by it. I want to challenge you today to match this gift. If you can't then I'm not talking to you. But if you have the means to give something more then I urge you to consider what God might be doing. No guilt. Just an ask. God is doing such good things here at Hope. We have more people attending this service than we have in three years almost every week. We have momentum. And I'm not a demon behind every bush kind of guy. But there is so much good going on, it shouldn't be surprising that we find some opposition in things happening. The week before the mission team shows up we find out about low finances and I had a crown come loose on a tooth. The team had crazy troubles with the power washers and the paint on the front of the building... And the AC went out in here on Tuesday of that week. It's not a coincidence. God is working for the good of Dixon and the spread of the gospel. Let's pray together that He will continue. Let's also be willing and available for when He wants to do some of these greater things through us.
As the team plays I want to invite you to come to the altar and pray for our church. You may need to pray for your own heart. Whatever God is doing in your heart this morning, this is your time to respond to Him.
The passage in John 14 and the passage that comes right before it contain amazing promises though there is one stipulation. These passages come after a command. "Believe in me." The promises of heaven, of greater works, of answered prayer, and all of the rest of Jesus's promises are only for people who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
You don't need to rely on yourself for the way because He is the way.
You don't need to live in uncertainty and fear because He is the truth.
You don't need to fear death because He is the life.
And He is still at work through His people. You have what you need to accomplish the task set before you: it's HIM!
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