I’m a Christian, and sometimes a teacher/preacher.
This sermon discusses what is better than and greater than Jesus.
Bigger Than Jesus
In 1966, John Lennon said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.
There’s a riddle that goes:
What is greater than God,
and worse than the devil?
The rich need it,
the poor have it,
and if you eat it, you’ll die?
(click here for the answer)
- What are some of the biggest (most important) things in your life?
- If you could rearrange your priorities, what would you change?
The Apostles were doing amazing things before they had received the Holy Spirit.
Jesus called his twelve disciples and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. (Matthew 10:1)
They drove out many demons and healed many sick people. (Mark 6:13)
But the Twelve didn’t have a corner on the market.
John said, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” Jesus answered, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a miracle in my name can say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:38-40)
The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two. “Heal the sick there and tell them the kingdom of God has come.” The seventy-two returned with joy saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” (Luke 10:1,9,17)
After Christ died, rose, and ascended, they upped their game.
The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. (Acts 5:12)
Even Peter’s shadow got into the act. People lined up just to get close enough to Peter that his shadow would touch them.
People brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. (Acts 5:15)
Paul’s groupies did Peter one better by sending Paul’s used handkerchiefs away to cure people. Paul didn’t even need to be in the neighborhood.
When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched Paul’s skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled. (Acts 19:12)
They even rose the dead back to life.
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha; she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. (Acts 9:36-41)
But not everyone on the receiving end of an Apostle’s miracle was happy about it.
“You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” Immediately, darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. (Acts 13:11)
A man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.
Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things. (Acts 5:1-10)
But that was just the beginning.
Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
Whoever believes will do even greater things.
Even greater things.
We as believers can do even greater things than those.
- What miracles has God performed in your life?
- What great things can we do in Jesus’ name?
Better Than Jesus
Jesus repeatedly told his followers that he wouldn’t be with them forever, but that it would be worth it.
Jesus said, “If I go, I will prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3)
It would have been amazing to be one of Jesus’ original followers, and to know him personally when he walked the earth as a man.
But there’s something even better than that.
Jesus told them, “It is best for you that I go away. Because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)
It is best for you that I go. There is something better than God walking along alongside us after all — and that’s to have God inside us.
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.” (John 14:16)
“The Spirit of truth will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” (John 16:14)
“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
“I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” (Luke 24:49)
Jesus knew that the Spirit was so important that He didn’t want the apostles to even leave town until the Spirit had come.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has the powers of God, but takes up residence inside our own hearts.
He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:22-23)
Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. This love surpasses knowledge. You will be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Galatians 5:6, Ephesians 3:9)
The Spirit can bestow us with many gifts.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is encouraging, then encourage; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is leading, lead diligently; if it is mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8)
To one the Spirit gives wisdom, to another knowledge, to another faith, to another healing, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another discernment, to another speaking in different tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
The Spirits help us in many ways:
- Knows all things (1 Corinthians 2:10-11)
- Prays for us (Romans 8:26-27)
- Guides us (John 14:16-17, 26)
- Decides for us (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
- Lives with us and in us (John 14:16-17)
- Fills us with living water (John 7:37-39)
- Shows Jesus to us (John 15:26)
- Produces holiness in us (Galatians 5:16-25)
- Transforms us (2 Corinthians 3:18)
- Gives us gifts (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Co 12)
- Grieves for our sin (Ephesians 4:30)
But it’s not a free ride. As that last item shows, the downside is that we can hurt his feelings.
- What spiritual gifts do you have, and how do you use them?
- What are some ways that the Holy Spirit worked through you?
You can download the PowerPoint file here.