~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Peter DeWitt. You can hear the whole sermon, Moving the Needle (part 2), by clicking here.
When you step up, the Lord steps up. It’s time to move the needle! It’s time for more! It’s time for increase! It is time for “a measurable more.” What do you want to see more of in your life – in your walk with God? We often want something just bad enough that we pray to God but we don’t want it bad enough to keep praying! John Wimber used to tell people that wanted to see healing miracles in their ministry to pray for 500 people’s healing and then come back to see him if they hadn’t seen anyone healed yet. An amazing thing happens in ministry when we step out – we see breakthrough. There is nothing standing between you and that breakthrough other than sustained focus on it with the Lord!
Sometimes when hope for a breakthrough begins to rise in our hearts, instead of letting that hope rise to the point that it has to overflow into a faith-filled prayer, we chuck a half-hearted prayer to God just to relieve the growing pressure of hope in our hearts … to “blow off some steam.” But what that does is that it actually cuts the legs out from underneath something that the Lord is wanting to develop in you such that you get to the point that you will pay the price (no matter what the cost) to see it come to pass. We need to pray for and steward hunger for our “measurable more!”
Kerri had chronic low back pain since she was 16 (she had a waterskiing accident). Every day on a pain scale of 0 to 10, she was always at least a 2. Sometimes, about once a year, it would lock up and she would have to miss a week of work. If she did too much exercise or if she sneezed wrong, she never knew when it would go out. So, at church in the park on May 29th, Kerri prayed with her husband about her back. A week later, at church, Kerri realized that her back hadn’t hurt in a whole week! What’s significant about that it that she had actually stepped up her exercise regimen and gone 5 days in a row … which normally would be too much for her back. She has worked out 5 days a week for 3 weeks in a row now with ZERO PAIN! Amen! Praise You God!
When you expect more, you get more! And this is a season for a measurable more! It’s time to move the needle. Jesus expected His relationship with His Father to make an impact in the lives of others, but a religious spirit tries to replace fruit with just words. 1 Cor. 4:20 says “for the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power!” Life-changing power and results are a major issue in the kingdom! We do not want to succumb to a religious spirit that somehow explains away fruitfulness! Those that are the most fruitful in the Kingdom of God know what the Word of God says, believe it, and practice it! And when they don’t see it work in their lives they press in, pray, and fast about it until they see it.
Jn. 10:10 tells us that Jesus came to give life and life abundantly but the enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus came to give you salvation life, and then once you are saved, to give you life more abundantly! So, the enemy opposes people being saved and then once they are saved he opposes the abundant life (primarily through wrong theology). Wherever you are fine with fruitlessness is where the enemy will steal from you. What you expect is what you’ll get. We have to value fruitfulness. Jesus said in Jn. 10:37 that if He didn’t do the works of the Father that we should not believe Him! Jesus set the standard. That’s the standard. The standard is not your brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone that came to Jesus was healed. That’s the standard. That’s the standard for fruitfulness. Peter had a money problem and Jesus said “go catch a fish, there will be a coin in its mouth.” That’s the standard. The standard is not neutral. The standard is fruitfulness! It is a scriptural abnormality to live a non-miraculous Christian life.
But the pressure is not on us to bear fruit! In Mark 11, we read a lesson from a fig tree which Jesus cursed because of it’s fruitlessness. What did the fig tree represent? The root of self-righteousness! Fig leaves represent trying to make your own righteousness – trying to cover your own sin. (see Gen. 3:6-7) A self-righteous root will never bear kingdom fruit!
God’s curse is on self-righteousness, but God’s blessing is on another root! Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5) Do you see the contrast between the fruitless fig tree and us remaining in Christ? If you want to operate in mountain moving faith; if you want to see fruit in your life, you cannot be operating from your own root. You have to be connected to the vine! “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (Jn. 15:7-8) Jesus’ disciples bear much fruit! Fruitlessness in the Kingdom is caused by being your own root – trusting in yourself. Fruitfulness is caused by being in Christ!
In Numbers 13, God tells Moses to send spies into the promised land. They were commissioned to go into the promised land to bring the fruit of that land back to the people to encourage them to boldly venture into the promised land. In Christ, we are supposed to now be the ones venturing into Heaven in order to bring the fruit of Heaven back to people who do not yet know Christ or who do not yet know the promised land in order to entice them to come in to meet the Lord there! “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!” We are supposed to be going in and getting the fruit and bringing it back out. But to be successful in that role, we have to get hungry! Pastor Bill Johnson’s ministry saw breakthrough in healing when he “realized that I was obligated to require fruit for what I believed” and thought “Wait a minute, I don’t have to settle for fruitlessness.” (from Healing Unplugged, p. 24)
What do you have faith rising for in your heart? Hebrews 11:1 (ESV) tells us that faith is a conviction. Faith is a conviction … of things not yet seen. The Holy Spirit wants to convict you of the things you haven’t seen yet. He wants to convict you that there’s more. And you will know that the “conviction of faith” is working in you when you start to get the point that you are like “I’ve GOT TO SEE THAT!” We have to have breakthrough in our marriage … We have to have breakthrough in healing … I have to have breakthrough in my relationship with God! I pray that conviction for more, that faith, that expectation would get so all over you that it clings to you like a static charged polyester shirt. Because that is when it is going to make a difference in your life … When you get to the point like Bill Johnson said “I couldn’t back off ever again.” May the expectation of what the Lord’s wanting to do would cling to each of us such that we cannot shake it! May our hunger become so thick that we cannot have it any other way.