Legendary renewal leader Colin Urquhart reminds us that we’ve been given everything we need to play our part in seeing God move.
Across my life I can look back on many years of fruitful ministry. There have been times when there was such a move of the Spirit that – even in this country – we’d see a thousand people come to the Lord every week, and consider it a bad meeting if there were fewer than 100 saved. At times it was commonplace to see major miracles happening daily.Yet, over all the years, I’m conscious of my complete inability to do anything myself. In Christ, I am all that he says I am – but of myself, I am nothing. We get ourselves into trouble when we get big ideas about ourselves because of how we see God moving, and perhaps even more so when we begin to congratulate ourselves for what we see God doing. He’s the only one to be congratulated, thanked and praised. He just lets us in on the action.
We’ve been fully equipped. Jesus’ blood has dealt with every negative and the Spirit gives us every positive
So if that’s the case, who are we? Where do we find our identity? It’s always good to focus on Jesus. In him, we see the ultimate way to minister to people’s needs. Where did he find his identity when he was on Earth? It was in his Father, not himself.
Philip asks Jesus in John 14:8, ‘Lord, show us the Father…’. Jesus’ reply: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”?’
What was he referring to? Throughout John’s gospel there’s a series of state-ments that Jesus makes about his relationship with the Father. On more than one occasion, speaking about himself, he says, ‘By myself I can do nothing’ (e.g. John 5:30). If that’s true of Jesus, then surely that’s true of all of us! When we think of the miracles we read about – water turned to wine, feeding five thousand, healing the blind, raising the dead – we think of them as Jesus’ miracles. But Jesus only saw them as the working of the Father.
Even when he faces the cross, he prays in Gethsemane, ‘Not my will, but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42). Everything in Jesus’ ministry revealed and glorified the Father, exalting him and making him known. As far as he was concerned, in drawing people to himself he was drawing them to the Father. It’s in this that we see his complete selflessness – the selflessness that’s at the heart of what it means to lay down your life in love for others.
So where does that leave us? I believe we’ve been given two things and, in a glorious way, all we need are those two things.
Firstly, the blood of Jesus. I think we often miss the power of the blood of Jesus. We know that by his blood every-one’s sins are forgiven, but if you read Hebrews it tells us that through Jesus’ blood you can stand before God as if you were Jesus himself standing there (Hebrews 4:16). That’s its power – it not only forgives but it breaks the power of sin. It removes from our lives everything that is not like Christ and makes us totally acceptable in his sight. We should remember this when we pray. We’ve been washed in the blood, so we can stand before the Father with the same confi-dence, faith and expectation as Jesus did.
God is the only one to be congratulated, thanked and praised. He just lets us in on the action.
Secondly, we are given his Holy Spirit. It’s the Spirit of holiness, and he’s called ‘Holy’ because he enables us to do the things Jesus did and greater things still.
One of the most powerful things I’ve ever seen was at a conference where I was preaching in South Africa. This was during the time of apartheid and the conference saw 6,000 people of different races come together. At the end of my sermon, prayer flowed out and – this is no exaggeration – thousands of people who had been sitting down to listen jumped to their feet at the same second as the Holy Spirit fell. There are many ways the Spirit moves and for the rest of that week I could barely move for people telling me of the miracles that God did when the Spirit fell.
We’ve been fully equipped. Jesus’ blood has dealt with every negative and the Spirit gives us every positive. All that’s left for us is to imitate Jesus, living our lives as he lived his. I know I can’t do anything by myself so I trust him completely. Never does he leave us to our own devices. What a God! There’s never any failure except when we trust ourselves and not him.
A great man called David Du Plessis used to refer to himself as ‘the Lord’s donkey.’ I like it: I’m just a donkey but I carry the Lord. What a lovely way to look at it.
This is an edited version of a talk given at our September 2018 staff prayer day. Listen to the full talk online here.
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