I stood with tears in my eyes looking at a young man, I had ministered to for over a year. He had apparently decided to take some mind-altering substance. In his normal self, he was a kind, soft spoken young man. But today he was angry, saying things in a threatening manner. He was delusional claiming to be the One who would fix everything. I was heartbroken. What would happen to him? I could see the effects of the drug had already affected his weight. His manic state was almost demonic. For a moment I felt overwhelmed, how would I ever reach him? How could I help him? Then I remembered. I have a great God who works alongside of me.
This scripture flowed through my mind that day. Mark 16:20 NKJV “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.”
I am grateful today that this scripture doesn’t tell us that they went out and preached everywhere, and they had to be able to fix every crazy situation they came across. There are some things only God can do.
The early church did their part. They were faithful to go and preach. And God did his part. His part was doing what they could not. I have great news today if you are a pastor, or evangelist, or one of the millions of people who are active in ministry. God will be working with you if you can believe.
“The Lord working with them” is a powerful promise!
This statement found here-the Lord working with them-is not just a historical note that tells us what happened back in the early church. It is a promise to everyone who will believe it. It is a revelation of the heart of God to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord wants to work with us and that is encouraging! Here is why: When I work by myself, I get the results that I can get. When I depend upon my own energy, ingenuity, planning, resources, and ability. I will get what my own energy, ingenuity, planning, resources and ability can produce. But if God is working with me, I can expect greater works, miracles, answers to prayer, signs and wonders. I can expect amazing.
Four Ways God Works With Us.
- By Strengthening Us in Our Inner Being
That day as I stood in the foyer of my church watching my friend and brother walk down the driveway alone, I needed to be strengthened. My inner man was feeling faint. I needed to pray. You may feel that way right now. You wonder how you will ever make it through today and its pressures and obligations. There are parents wondering how they will have the wisdom to know how to raise kids who are already wandering away from the faith. There are husbands who look at marriages and wonder, when will the enemy stop taring stuff up? You feel weak.
Or perhaps you know the weakness that you have, you know your inability to choose to do the right thing, your powerlessness, your tendency to do the wrong thing. And your life has felt messed up in recent days. You may even feel like you are in bondage. You have been feeling a heaviness. You don’t know whether you will ever be able to overcome. Your flesh wants to give in and give up. But you put on your best effort. You begin to put your best foot forward, but it is like you take one step forward and get knocked back two steps. On your own you have made no progress.
I want to say something softly and gently. You can’t do it on your own. You can’t overcome on your own. You can’t get victory on the inside on your own. You can’t fight the devil all by yourself. You can’t shake yourself free in your own power.
Here is what you need: You need the Lord working with you! You need God to strengthen you. The key to victory is allowing God to strengthen you in your inner being with a supernatural strength. Paul knew that all believers need to be strengthened. Ephesians 3:16 NKJV “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,”
How does God strengthen us? It happens as we seek Him and spend time in prayer. It happens as we digest the Word and meditate on us. It happens in corporate worship services as the Holy Spirit sends waves of His presence. It happens as we listen to Godly music on our phones or car radio. God is calling us to walk with Him. God is calling us into a deep relationship with Him. And as you do that, down on the inside of you, the Spirit of God is going to give your inner man strength.
Many years ago, God gave me a spiritual principle that I was supposed to live my life by. I was young and just beginning my ministry. While some days I felt okay. Most days, I had no victory in my life. I was focused on the outside circumstances of my life. And the Lord showed me that I must have t Victory on the inside.
You see, what we want is for all our outward circumstances to change. We want all our outward relationships to be right and happy. We want everything to go our way on the outside. We think if that stuff out there was straightened out, inside in my inner man, I would be happy. If these things in my life on the outside would just get changed, I would have victory on the inside.
I learned that is not how it works. God strengthens you on the inside first. You get victory down on the inside first. He gives you internal power first. You feel him strengthening your inner being with his glorious might and power of the Spirit first. Then what happens is that victory that you have on the inside begins to manifest on the outside.
That is how God is working with us. Colossians 1:11 CEV “His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy.”
When it says endure, it means to conquer that thing. It means to stay true and stay strong and stay believing until victory.
And then God will work with us.
- By Sending Laborers into His Harvest Field
As I saw my young back-slidden drug filled friend walk away, I prayed, God send someone to Him when he crashes so that he might come to a place of repentance. I have learned is that God answers prayers for laborers. Have you ever looked at the needs of the world and then looked at the kingdom and their seems to be a shortage of laborers? Don’t worry! Pray!
One of the areas that the Lord works with us is that he is willing to send out laborers into his harvest.
In Matthew 9, Jesus has been going out into the cities and villages, teaching in the synagogues and healing the people. And Jesus looks on the multitudes and his heart is full of love and his heart is full of compassion. He sees them as sheep without a shepherd and harassed. He sees them in need. It is almost as though Jesus knew what I felt as I saw my friend so messed up that day. Jesus turned to His disciples and says “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Matthew 9:37
What do we do when we need laborers? I have complained that we did not have enough volunteers or workers, but it didn’t do anything but discourage those listening to me. I have heard others get angry at those who “do so little in the kingdom”. What we should do is go to our knees and humbly ask God.
Matthew 9:38 “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” The same God who is able to bring people to salvation, is able to place within them the divine call of God and a desire to work for Him. The Holy Spirit is able to raise up laborers. Don’t be discouraged. The Lord is working with you.
The third way the Lord is working with us is
- By the Convincing Power of The Holy Spirit
Certainly, the Lord working with them was seen on the day of Pentecost as 3000 were converted. All through the book of Acts we see the power of the Spirit in action. One of my favorite scriptures is found in John 16:8 “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”
This passage makes a declaration. The Holy Spirit is able to deal with the world and those who need Christ and convince them of the truth of the gospel. I know that many of us pray for loved ones. I am fully convinced that God hears those prayers and sends the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, bringing them to an understanding of their need for salvation.
One of the most difficult things in Christianity is to see someone struggling and so you want to run in and save them. I have done it. I try to tell them, hey, my friend, wake up! Don’t you realize what that kind of a lifestyle will lead to. Don’t you realize that the depression and the pain and the hurt that you feel comes from the things that you are involved in?
The reason some of us know that is because we have been there! We know the end result, the brokenness, the hurt, the pain. But we also know that there is one by the name of Jesus who rescues and saves! There is One who knows how to heal the broken hearted. There is one who knows how to rid us of the guilt that we carry. We know that He can break the chains that bind. And so we desperately attempt to try to win our friends, family and acquaintances and rightly so. But sometimes after weeks or months or sometimes years of loving truth telling we wonder when it will happen.
I want to assure you that God is working. He is the convincer. He brings the conviction necessary. Did you ever notice that the more you pray for someone who is not right with God, they get even worse? Sometimes people stop praying for them when they see that. We should rejoice! Because that is a sign the Holy Spirit is dealing with them.
I assure you that the Holy Spirit is a faithful convincer. Every time they allow Satan to manipulate them, the Holy Spirit is right there lovingly persuading, wooing, convicting, making them experience the effect of their sinful ways.
We sometimes think that it is our job to devise the means to bring them to Christ. God the Holy Spirit is able to create the perfect scenario whereby they say to the Lord, I need you. I surrender, I just want to come home to Christ.
One scripture that I have loved is found in 2 Samuel 14:14 “Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.”
Satan will tell you that your prodigal son or straying daughter is like water poured on the ground and that they can never be recovered. That is a lie! Sin has banished our loved ones from the presence of God. We understand that. They are separated from him. But God wants to bring them back into his presence.
What good news to know that right now the Holy Spirit is devising the means, the way that the one you have been praying for will fully surrender to Christ. The banished will come home! He knows exactly what they need. Sometimes they need love. Sometimes they need to come to a place of brokenness.
Sometimes they need to come to a place where the pain of staying like they are is greater than the pain of getting right.
But the good news is: The Lord working with us! I am grateful for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. I know that the Holy Spirit will not leave my wayward friend, but will lovingly bring him back to Jesus.
The final way the Holy Spirit will work with us is
- By Confirming the Word with Signs Following
Mark 16:20 NKJV “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.”
What are those accompanying signs? Mark made it plain in his gospel. Mark 16:15-18 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[b] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
The accompanying signs are that some will believe and be saved. The accompanying signs are demons will be cast out in the name of Jesus. The accompanying signs are that believers will be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in new tongues. The accompanying signs are that the enemies plans to destroy them by a serpents attack or by poison will be thwarted. The accompanying signs are that they will lay hands on the sick and they will cover.
I don’t want to preach a gospel that has no demonstration of the power of God. I need the Lord working with me. It is my job and your job to preach and proclaim the gospel. It is God’s job to do the demonstrate the truth in power.
It is your job and my job to take this gospel everywhere. But if we have the faith, if we have the courage to confront our culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can expect that God will do the impossible.
It says, “they went out” -do you go out? Sure you do…every single day. You don’t stay home all day. Everywhere you go, wherever you are, you are an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ. As you tell what God has done in your life. As you proclaim him as King and Savior and Lord, God will work with you by confirming his word.
Paul in his letter to the Romans said in Romans 15:19 NKJV “I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” The sad truth is that there are many churches and ministries that are not fully preaching the gospel of Christ. They are content with a partial gospel. They will even tell you that God doesn’t do miracles today
They will tell you all of that passed away with the apostles. Don’t you believe it for even a minute! I have seen miracles in my life. God healed my son Derek of stuttering in a single night. God caused my wife’s retina to reattach itself. I am a witness to the power of Almighty God in so many ways. I have seen marriages healed, love restored, and financial miracles. All as a confirmation of the Word that was preached.
Do we give God the opportunity to work after the Word is preached?
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
I want to ask you, is your faith in the wisdom of men? Are you a believer because of some persuasive words of human wisdom? Or have you come in contact with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power? My faith is firmly founded on a supernatural God that I have seen work in great power and glory.
The kingdom is not a matter of words. 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” You can’t have the kingdom with power unless the Lord is working with you.
If you are a prayer warrior, expect God to work with you and confirm his word answering your prayers. If you are a pastor, teacher, prophet, evangelist, apostle, walk in the power and authority of the office God has given you.
Let’s go after God and see what He will do!