I John 4:1-4 (NKJV)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
“He who is in you (and me) is greater than he who is in the world.” Do you believe this statement to be true? Before you answer, stop and think for a moment. Is God the Greatest influence in my life? Is the foremost thought in my head? Is He the One who I consider first? Go to first? Remain with until the bitter end? The power in our life is wrapped in freedom. The Lord has given us the right to decide how to live our life and who will be in control of it. To some this is a welcome comfort…at first. Until the struggle of faithful obedience in the midst of opposition and overwhelming opinions get the best of us. Maintaining one’s freedom in Jesus Christ is a full-time job. The beginning of this passage begins with the word “Beloved”, you are God’s Beloved. Jesus calls us “beloved”. We are loved. Love does not force itself on another but is offered and received. When I was not a believer given to Christ, I tried not to sin because I wasn’t supposed to. It was against the “rules” or the “Law”. Now that I am a born again believer completely in love with the Lord, I try to avoid sin because I love Him. I love Jesus and it was sin that nailed my One True Love – my first love – my Perfect Love to the Cross only after brutally torturing and abusing Him.
If there wasn’t some kind of struggle or even the smallest deception, these verses would not be necessary for our instruction. But in fact, they are more than needed in the Body of Christ today. We must believe God is Greater again. It must move from the Word of God into our heart and make its way back out of our mouth until our mind is convinced and soul assured that God is the Greatest Power and Influence in our life. He must be greater than every circumstance and problem. He must be greater than the lie of the enemy handed to us on a silver platter and perfect utensils. Even men and women of God in pulpits around the world have allowed the spirit of the antichrist to sneak into their churches. They say things completely contrary to the Word of God with people shouting, “Amen.” The man of God has been deemed greater than God himself. They twist God’s Word into a personal agenda that allows them to jet all over the world in fancy jets when men and women are dying in their sin while starving in poverty. I am not preaching a message of poverty or prosperity in the natural but pointing out the poverty of soul and prosperity that is purposeless. God is greater than all things. He is the One who we serve in love.
Mark 12:29-31 (NKJV)
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Having nice things is not a problem? Having a hard heart is most definitely problematic? Prospering financially is not a sin. Not at all. You reap what you sow. Those who are careful with their planting will be copious in their harvest – no matter what that may be. Honor the Lord obediently tithing and giving offerings to Him – your barns will increase and silos overflow if generosity opens your heart to do so in love. See it’s not what we have or do not have in life that affords generosity but the condition of one’s heart.
The first commandment is to love the Lord God with all my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength. The second one is to love others as I do myself. These are the two greatest commandments. We can do nothing apart from our love for God and other people. To properly love the Lord requires unconditional and gracious love for others beyond what is humanly capable. We think it is okay to wait until they “deserve” our love rather than showing “unearned grace” to them. When we love God – He fills our life with His Grace so we can love others like ourselves. We cannot love others from the empty silo of self because the Love of God is covered with His Grace. So you see to love God justly is to love others. To love others properly requires full acceptance and assurance of God’s Love.
John 15:12-13 (NKJV)
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on the couch conversing with our kids via text message, when another text popped up from a young lady we know. Her husband and our oldest son are best friends. He is deployed currently. She is a young mother with a precious little one who feeds my grandma need until my own children are ready to give me some. She was not feeling well and wanted to know if would like some “toddler time”. At first, I sighed on the inside. We had a busy weekend. The week had already proven challenging. However, I could feel my heart tugging to give her some rest. I love these kids. I am thankful for the sacrifice that he makes to ensure my ongoing freedom and national security. How could I say no? Not to mention, their little boy is precious and awesome. Driving home, our daughter was singing praise songs with him in the backseat as he sang and clapped his hands, too. My heart began to burst within me. What a blessing!
This was a small sacrifice of my time that would yield a full and satisfied heart. Loving others is not verbiage but action. To offer help without hands is a lie. To give your life without your heart is not complete. See we must learn to love others with our life to experience the greater things that God has promised us. Greater love has no man than this to lay down his life for his friends. Is the Greater in you making it into the world today? Are you filled to overflowing but afraid to release it? To have the greater things of God we must be filled with the Greatness of God. His Glory. His Spirit. His Son Jesus Christ who is our example laid down His Life so we would be free to give our life away to others without any expectation other than that which comes from the Greatest Love of all.
John 10:28-30 (NKJV)
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.
Could it be that we are not experiencing the Glory of God because we do not believe in the Greatness of God? I give them eternal life. Awesome. But do we believe it? Do I believe that even in death God is still greater? Good question. The fruit of my life demonstrates the God in me. To live out in the open as a living sacrifice means giving my life away. I can only do so if I believe that “no one is able to snatch” me from God’s Hand. My guard goes down when confidence in God’s Love and Grace goes up. How can I be sure that there is more to life than this? How do I stretch my faith to assume my identity as a Child of God full of love and grace to be poured out as Light to a dark and dying world? You must believe that God is greater than anything you come against in this life. John 15:19-20 tells us that those who decide to follow Christ are asking for it! The world will hate you immediately. People will persecute you for loving unconditionally. Demonstrating the weakness that releases God’s Power will make you a walking target. Are you ready for that? You can be. God is greater. His Power over sin and darkness complete. All you and I must do is believe it and live in the Greatness of God.
Mark 4:30-32 (NKJV)
Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”
To believe one must have faith in God. We must know God more to invest more faith in His Character and Promises. God’s Word is the seed that must be continually and consistently sown in the life that is ready to give itself away or we have nothing to offer. God’s Word is the seed of life that bears the promise of unconditional love and unmerited favor in our life. Jesus is the Word of God who wrapped Himself in flesh to carry out the requirement of love to hand us forever. When we take the Word and bury it in our heart and wrap our mind up in it, there is a transformation subtle but steadfast. We begin to recognize that God is in us and that He is with us. His Power begins to rise up in us and those willing to live will experience it. Fulfillment of faith creates a resting place for others in our life. The giving of our love is made complete in faith as other “birds of the air may nest under its shade.”
I John 3:19-21 (NKJV)
And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
Faith must grow in our heart. Our heart and mind must become convinced that God is the greatest driving force of all time. We must believe. God is greater than our heart. Our heart is a fickle organ that loves the Lord one day and loves self more the next. It is truthful to say that our lives are inconsistent because one day we love God perhaps we could call that Sunday and the occasional Wednesday then love ourselves the other five days of the week. We wonder where God’s Power is hiding in our life. It is hidden under the lack of commitment and ignorance of God’s Character that we are hidden in. The secret holding cells of life who can’t decide who is greater.
Haggai 2:9 (NKJV)
‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
Hebrews 9:11-12 (NKJV)
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
It is time to decide that God is greater. In the book of Haggai, the people are foretold of the glory of the latter temple. We are that temple made up of living stones. Christ is the cornerstone. There are a whole lot of criminals with the tattoo, “God is my judge.” People declare it when making poor choices to avoid the condemnation of others. I agree with every one of them. But I also concur that if they truly believed what they were saying that fear alone would cause them to change their attitude and actions in this life to prepare for eternal life. God is our judge. Jesus is the Grace I need to escape the punishment that I deserve and the One to whom God defers His Judgment. (John 5:19-23) I can find peace in that statement when I live according to my belief that the Lord is my judge and Jesus He is my escape from prosecution. I am delivered by believing God’s Word is true and living according to my faith. You will live what you believe. We have been given the promise to build the greatest temple ever known. By faith I commit my life to this process, only fear can drive me away. Fear comes when I doubt God is greater than anything or anyone I encounter who challenges my faith that is not securely attached to my belief that God is definitely greater than anything I may face. He is. It doesn’t matter if I believe in His Greatness or not – God is the Great I Am. My whole role is what I am willing to do with the gift of Grace that I have been given. Will I allow the Lord to take my life and build it into something greater?
John 14:12-14 (NKJV)
“Most assuredly, 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 My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask[a] anything in My name, I will do it.”
Do you believe that God is greater than anything else in your life? Do you believe that He is bigger and stronger than any giant that you face? What we believe is the conduit of what we live! If you live in fear and doubt, then disbelief is apparent. God is greater than how we feel. Knowledge of God will kill ignorance and allow us to grow in the Grace and Love of God through understanding. This understanding turned into wisdom allows us to be built into the latter day temple promised in Haggai. It has not arrived yet. The sanctuaries are beautifully filled with stagnant life. We must open the doors and windows to allow the Love of God to pour out and illuminate the world otherwise we have nothing to offer. I believe that we can do greater works. I believe that God’s Purpose for the latter day church is immeasurable outpouring of love, care and concern that will promote the acceptance of God’s Unconditional Love and Unending Grace. It will produce fruitful lives rather than the barren orchards all around us.
In Zechariah 12:7-8, it talks about Judah. Judah means “praise.” It says that the Lord will save the tents of “Judah” first. Why? So the Glory of God will be great. I want to experience greater things and this happens when I praise. When I remind my heart that God is greater and can put it back together each time it is broken to be bigger, stronger and better than before. It tells my mind that I have the Mind of Christ so that nagging problem threatening to spark worry and despair is quenched by the watering of God’s Word. I must remind my soul daily that God is greater than anything I can say or do to offend and hurt my Lord. I just have to remember that God is greater and learn to live like it. Test the spirits in your life. Compare each thought to the Word of God and weed out the lies being sown in your life. God is greater. Greater is He who is in you. You will overcome just by believing in and living according to the Greatness of Your Father wrapped in the Love of the Son guided by His Spirit from glory to glory until forever comes!
I Chronicles 29:11 (NKJV)
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.