No. 06 – How the Word Worked in the Life of Christ
Isn’t it wonderful to finally know what faith is, simply and clearly?
Let’s read that statement from AT Jones one more time:
A.T. Jones – Lessons on Faith
Faith is the expecting the word of God to do what it says, and the depending upon that word to do what it says.
The word of God has power in itself. It will do exactly what it says. We must recognize this fact, then we will expect and depend on that word to do what it says.
For a number of years there were some parts of God’s word that I couldn’t read. It was too painful because I had tried to do what it said, but I couldn’t do it, and so every time I read it, I felt that it was condemning me. But now I have no problems reading it, because now I know that when I am reading that word, THAT WORD ITSELF will do what it says – it is not for me to do it!
I tried so hard to do what the word says. But the word was waiting for me to LET it do what it says, it didn’t want me to do it – it wanted to do itself in me! And so now when I read the word, I say Amen! Yes, Lord, please, I want that word to work in me and I open my heart up to its influence today.
This is how it is that God works in us – by His word – His word does what He is pleased with, and He will work in us to will and to do the things that He is pleased with.
And Jesus didn’t do His own works – He always did those things that pleased His Father. Remember it was the Father that did the works? So Let’s look at the Father working in the life of Christ.
When Jesus was in heaven, He was omnipotent – He had all power. He was omnipresent – He could be everywhere all at once. And He was omniscient – He knew everything! But YOU don’t. You are not all powerful and cannot be everywhere. And so when Jesus came to this earth, He left behind all of those divine prerogatives, and entered perfectly into our experience.
I want to share with you a brief statement from Ellen White where she is speaking about Jesus calming the storm on the sea of Galilee:
Desire of Ages 336
When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the “Master of earth and sea and sky” that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, “I can of Mine own self do nothing.” John 5:30. He trusted in the Father’s might. It was in faith-faith in God’s love and care-that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God.
Jesus laid down all of His power as God. When He commanded the sea to be calm, it was the power of His Father in the word that calmed the storm.
The power that we see in the life of Christ, including the power to conquer Satan and all his temptations was not from Christ, but it was the power of the word which was the power of His Father. The Father lived His life in His Son by the word.
After Christ’s resurrection, He was walking with two heart-broken disciples on the road to Emmaus. Notice what He says to them:
25| Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26| Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? 27| And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.
In HOW MANY scriptures? ALL the Scriptures are concerned with Christ.
Ellen White writes here in Desire of Ages 390
The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ.
Everything that we are reading in the Bible is about Christ. Yes, even the entire old testament! All the minute details of the life that the Father would live in His Son is found in the Old Testament – because that is all there was in Christ’s day.
There is another verse where we can read again that He did nothing of Himself:
19| Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20| For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
He says here that He does what He sees the Father do. Now, if He left all of His divine powers out, then He had absolutely no advantage over us. So how did the Father show Him what He was doing? It is simple – the same way that He shows us: He showed Him by the word! And in His day there was only one word – the Old Testament.
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.
This verse tells us that God will not do anything without first revealing it to the prophets. In other words, in the writings of the prophets He shows us what He is doing. And so we read previously that the Father SHOWED His Son what He was doing – in the word.
Connect these verses with these ones here:
49| For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50| And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
Again Jesus says He does not do His own thing. Now He says that the Father tells Him what to speak – He gives Him the commandment, and then He does it. Does this remind you of a verse we read last time?
6| By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. 9| For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
He commanded and it stood fast. It was done. And so Jesus says, the Father gives me the commandment and I do it! Where is the the Father’s commandment? In the word.
But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
“As the Father gave me commandment – even so I do!”
Can you see the word working? Jesus had faith. And when the word of God came to Him, He LET that word work in His life to produce the very thing that it said it would.
The entire Old Testament contains the details of the life that the Father would live in His own Son. Christ studied that word with a heart receptive to its influence, and when the time came when that word was applicable to that moment, the Father worked in His Son through the word.
Let’s read another reference:
7| Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8| I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
In one of our studies coming up we are going to see Jesus in the Psalms, and this verse here is also Jesus talking. In the volume of the book, or in the literal translations, its says “in the scrolls it is written of me”. This is a reference to the writings of Moses, where Moses writes in Deuteronomy 18:18:
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
This is evidently speaking of Christ, the Prophet with a capital “P” because we read a moment ago that Jesus spoke whatever His Father commanded Him to speak.
And so in Psalm 40:7-8 we have Jesus saying that the law is in His heart. Now, what does that law do in His heart?
Look at this here. This is very interesting. Come to Psalm 119:11:
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.
What did that word in His heart do? It prevented Him from sinning.
When Jesus was in the wilderness of temptation, what was His reply to each of Satan’s temptations? Do you remember? “It is written.” When Satan asked Him to turn the stones into bread, His response was:
But He answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Now, how do you understand this verse? I always thought that this verse was saying that if I want to have life, then I need to take everything that God says as my INSTRUCTION, and go and do it. And I must admit I was pretty scared because I wasn’t doing it! No matter how hard I tried, or how hard I even prayed! What was the problem? I had it back to front.
Remember Isaiah 55:11?
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
We are to live BY every word that comes out of God’s mouth. We are not to do the word – the word is to do us. Do you understand what I mean by that? The word of God has LIFE in ITSELF. IT will do what IT says. I cannot do what the word says – I am to LET the word do what it says IN ME. The word is to LIVE ITSELF in us. This is what it means to live BY every word that comes out of God’s mouth.
We are not to read the word and to say, I must go and do that”. No. We are to read the word and to yield ourselves to its power. To simply say, AMEN! LET it be so! Remember creation? God said LET there be light! LET my word produce the light. And there was no resistance, so the LIGHT came into existence. When God speaks His word to us – we are not to resist it but to LET it do what it says.
Jesus had right-doing by faith. He knew that the power, the very LIFE of GOD was in the WORD. And that it would do what it says. And so His faith laid hold of the life of God in that word, and it worked in Him the Father’s own right-doing.
And so, in consideration of this then, think of the Israelites at Sinai. God offered to provide them with His own perfect works. But they didn’t have faith. They didn’t believe what Job and Abraham believed, and that was that what God had promised, He HIMSELF would also perform it. And so they missed out on a HUGE opportunity. But God is so loving and merciful. He gave them a SECOND CHANCE.
We read before in Psalms 33 that God spake, and it was, He COMMANDED and it stood fast. What did God speak at Sinai? The ten what? COMMANDMENTS!!!
If the Israelites had FAITH, they would have received the ten commandments NOT as INSTRUCTIONS, but as PROMISES! God SPOKE the ten commandments. It was the word that came out of His mouth. And the word that comes out of His mouth will DO WHAT IT SAYS!
Instead of saying that they will do them, they should have said, “AMEN. We will LET your word perform itself in our lives.” Just like Abraham did! And just like Christ did.
Wow, have we got this one wrong or what! I always thought that the word of God was my instruction and I had to go and do it. No! It has life in itself – the very life of God! And if I read a word of God that is applicable to my situation in life, and I say AMEN! and LET that word do what it says, I will have the perfect working of God Himself in my life. And there is a word for EVERY occasion, for every trial or challenge, and EVERY MOMENT in our lives. I guarantee it. But you have to search for it. Just like we saw earlier that all the details of every moment of Christ’s life is contained in the old Scriptures, but I had only ever heard about the Messianic prophecies. No. There’s so much more to the word of God, but if we don’t study it and store it up in our hearts like Jesus did, it will never work in our lives the same perfection that was in His.
But remember this: knowledge is not power. The power is in the word. And unless we recognise that the word is alive, there will be no power in our life. Many people study and study and study the Bible; they store up huge amounts of scriptural knowledge in their heads, but no change seems to happen in their life – in fact, they become arrogant know-it-all who make you feel like a total failure when it comes to the knowledge of God’s word. But I would rather know just verse and the power that is in that verse than have all the words of God and NOT know its power. Because the knowledge will not do ANYTHING for me. I must KNOW that the life of God is in that word, and then, no matter how little I know, it will work for me if I will let it.
One of the reasons we have taken so long to realise these things is that WE want to DO something to save ourselves. Generally speaking, human beings want a part to play in their salvation. It’s like we think WE can help God! Well, here is out part:
Christ’s Object Lessons 61
Our part is to receive God’s word and to hold it fast, yielding ourselves fully to its control, and its purpose in us will be accomplished.
That’s all that we can do – just open our hearts to the word of God and LET it take control of our lives, and then go forward in faith believing and depending on that word to fulfil itself in our lives.
Things are a little different to what we thought they were, aren’t they? But now they make a lot more sense. We CANNOT. God must. And God will work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure by His word. A good reason to study the word, isn’t it? Because if we don’t study the word, and receive it into the heart, it can never work.
It truly is the LIVING word. May we LET it live in us.
We will spend some more time understanding these things in a practical sense in our next presentation. May the Word be with you, until then.