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ROLL AWAY THE STONE: AN EXAMPLE OF WORKS

Posted by Job on March 1, 2007

John 11:38,39 – Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take YE away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 

When Jesus Christ wanted to raise Lazarus from the dead to fulfill the Will of the Father, first something had to be done. The stone had to be rolled away. It is not that rolling the stone away was a precondition for raising Lazarus. Rather, there was no point in raising Lazarus without first rolling away the stone! What good would it have been to raise Lazarus without rolling away the stone? First of all, it would have done Lazarus no good, because he would have been resurrected only to soon die for want of thirst. Second, it would have done the people no good, for they would never have seen Lazarus risen and hence believed upon Christ as the Son of God and also in the power of God to deliver them. Look, every verse, every word that is in the Bible is there for a reason. The rolling the stone away for Lazarus represents a BREAKTHROUGH.
Look, Jesus has already died on the cross, risen again, and ascended into Heaven. By His stripes you are already healed, you are already delivered from evil spirits, your marriage is already saved, your children are already blessed, your ministry is already growing, you already have prosperity, you already have the Word of Faith and all power in Christ’s Name, you are already an heir and joint – heir with Christ Jesus, you are already in the Kingdom of Heaven. Those things are already yours, but you just need to receive them. It is like someone buying you a birthday gift. You may not even know about it (surprise party), who is giving it to you, or what it is, but it is still yours. You just need to go to your party, have the gift placed in your hand, and unwrap and open it to A) know that you have been given the gift B) know who gave you the gift C) know what the gift is and D) begin to benefit from it. Now that gift might have been bought on clearance 11 months ago by a forward – thinking birthday gift shopper. So that gift has been yours for almost a whole year, but it took all that time for you to receive it: when you were ready for it because it was your birthday. Even though it was yours, before you could get the giver had to decide it was the appropriate time to give it to you; that it was an appropriate time for you to receive it. And then there is another scenario: if the giver of your gift cannot make it to the party and put it into your hand. So he mails it. The gift is already yours, it was when the giver bought it for you. And the giver has already gone through the act of transferring it from him to you. You just have not received it yet. It is in transit. Even when it gets to your house, you still have to go home to get it.
 

So sometimes your gift hasn’t been given to you yet because it is not ready. Sometimes it has been given to you but it is still in transit. And sometimes your gift is right there waiting for you, but you are in the wrong place. In all cases, your gift is right there, but you need a BREAKTHROUGH to get what God has in store for you! You need a BREAKTHROUGH before you can be ready for God to transfer your gift to you. In those cases, you just need to mature in Christ: to learn to walk in faith, charity, and obedience consistently no matter what. Or you need a BREAKTHROUGH for the given gift to arrive, especially if it is being withstood by agents of the enemy (see Daniel 10:12-14). In those instances, you need to fight for it with fasting, prayer, and spiritual warfare in order to remove the obstacles that are preventing your gift’s arrival. Or, you simply need to go home and get your gift, or maybe to the post office to sign for it and pick it up. In that case, you are stuck in a dry place, like in a church, relationship, place of work or residence, etc. that God does not want you to be in, and you have to follow God to where He wants you to be before you can receive the promise, which was the case of Abraham having to leave His family and His country.  

But here is the hard part: most Believers know this already. So why are they not receiving the peace and power of God? Because they are neglecting the key part of the Scripture up there, the part that I have in red: Take YE away the stone! So many of us fall for the trap of the false faith doctrine. We are told about faith, but we are not told how to use it. Rather, we are told how to misuse and misapply it. Consider Noah. In order to be saved from the flood, what did Noah have to do? BUILD AN
ARK! NOAH ACTUALLY HAD TO DO SOMETHING! But we get into believing that God has to do everything for us supernaturally. We are so afraid of getting out there and doing works to claim our blessing because we have had it beaten and drilled into us that “Christianity is not a works religion.” All that means is that our spirits are not saved by works of the flesh. But we still have to get out and do works! If we did not have to do works to get blessings, we would not have to pray. Oh, you did not think that prayer was a work? Or is prayer only a work if you pray too long and intently? Is there some rule that you cannot pray over a certain time limit and you cannot exceed a certain emotional threshold, or else it is a work? Oh, and incidentally you “we are not a works religion” people, how did you get saved, give your life to Christ? By saying a prayer, right? Christianity is not a WORKS OF THE FLESH religion. It is every much a WORKS OF THE SPIRIT RELIGION. Even the works that your physically body actually performs are actually commanded, motivated, instructed, and guided by the Holy Spirit. When you have the fruits of the spirit of charity and kindness in you, causing you to greet people with a smile and a salutation of “God Bless You”, that is a work of the Holy Spirit! It is just using your body as a vessel; manifesting through your body!
 

But because of this misapplied “having the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains” doctrine, we will sit and beg and pray to God for 100 years to roll the stone away for us. Or we will misuse the Word of Faith and spend 100 years to command it to move. Now eventually God will have pity on us and intervene, but that is His Permissive Will out of mercy and grace to give us what we need and ask for, not His Perfect Will to give it in the manner and at the time of His Choosing for the purpose of maturing our souls. So many people never grow in Christ because they are never taught HOW to grow in Christ. They are told to have faith, which they mistake for believing something extra hard and professing it extra often and vigorously. Well as James said, works are the evidence of your faith (James 2:14-26). Evidence of faith was Noah building the ark. Evidence of faith was Abraham being ready to sacrifice Isaac on God’s Command because he had faith that God said that he would raise up of Isaac a mighty nation. Evidence of faith was David going into battle with Goliath with no sword or armor because he knew that God wanted him to win that battle and deliver
Israel through him. Evidence of faith was Moses going before pharaoh and saying “Let my people go.” Evidence of faith was Joshua leading the children of Israel around the walls of
Jericho, and Gideon defeating a massive army with 300 men armed with trumpets. And evidence of faith was Jesus Christ coming from Heaven, taking on man’s form and man’s sin and dying on the cross, knowing that God would raise His Soul from hell and His Body from the grave after 3 days.
 

Faith is not passive. Why not? Because faith is a work. A work as an active assertion of your free will. It does not come by osmosis, it comes by doing and seeking. Faith cometh by hearing the Word of God, and hearing is a passive activity? Well receiving that Word is a conscious free will choice, which is active. So is discerning whether that word is sound doctrine or not. Going through the effort to make that word relevant and applicable to your life and situation is definitely active, and so is believing that following that word will have a positive change on your life instead of a negative or neutral one. If nothing else, getting up out of bed and going to the church to hear the preacher (or even turning over in bed to listen to the preacher on the TV or radio) is a work! You have to use your faith, you have to exercise your faith, you have to walk in your faith, you have to live your faith. You have faith because you do things, and you do things because you have faith!  

And that gets us back to the stone in front of Lazarus’ grave. Now, Jesus could have snapped His Fingers and the boulder would have rolled away. Or He could have gotten some angel to do it for Him. Why didn’t He? It would have accomplished the same thing, right? The living Lazarus would have still been able to escape the tomb for all to see and believe. As a matter of fact, seeing Jesus supernaturally remove the boulder or seeing some strong angel respond to His Command to remove the boulder would have been even more proof that He was the Son of God, right? So then, why did not He do it? Again, please keep in mind that every word and detail in the Bible is there for a reason.  

Christ told MEN to roll away the stone because he wanted MEN to do it. It is not so much that Christ merely wanted men to participate in the miraculous event. No, remember, the stone being rolled away represents a breakthrough. It represents a door being opened so someone can walk through. It represents a stronghold being torn down, a demon principality or power being defeated. And how did this happen? Because they did what Jesus Christ told them to. Maybe they had faith that Jesus Christ was going to raise Lazarus. Maybe they had faith that SOMETHING was going to happen. Maybe they had no idea what was going on. Or maybe they had no faith at all but merely acted out of obedience! Yes, God will reward faithless obedience for He is a merciful God, and He knows that a Christian who obeys out of unbelief in spite of himself will often belief once the obedience produces results. And in this instance, their obedience, faithless or no, was sufficient to facilitate the working of the miracle, and upon seeing the miracle they believed! But it happened AFTER they did what Jesus told them to do, AFTER they obeyed. After they made a free will exercise. AFTER they performed A WORK at the commandment of God. 

And hence that is why WE have to do works. When we obey the Holy Spirit and do works, we roll stones away for others. We facilitate the blessings of others. We help others get their breakthroughs. We help others mature to where they can receive their blessings. We help defeat demonic and witchcraft obstacles that delay their blessings. And we help others move out of the dry places and go where they can GET there blessings. We open doors so that others can walk through. Someone else sees us get saved and they join the altar call. Someone else sees us get healed and delivered from demon spirits and they go get in line. Someone else sees us receive prosperity and they start believing on Psalm 112. And that is just one way. When we do God’s Works, that just increases the raining down of the Holy Spirit. It just steamrolls right over demons and witches. It breaks down the fear in people’s minds, the hardness in their hearts, and the obstinancy and rebellion in their wills. That clears a path for people to walk right up to the Tree of Life and start picking, whether beforetime they were weak or strong. That is what happens when you allow God to use you and follow His Perfect Will. 

God wants you to work in His Perfect Will so that the process by which you receive your blessing helps others AND that when you receive your blessing you will have the knowledge, mindset, power, and faith to help someone else. Say God wants you to have a million dollars. If you do what God wants you to do, others will see you working hard towards getting that financial blessing and emulate it. The productive work that you and others do seeking a financial blessing from God will cause economic growth and create jobs for still more people. That increased economic activity will cause investors to come into that area to loan people money to buy homes and start businesses, which creates even more economic growth. And to top it all off, when you get your million dollars you are going to give $100,000 to the church as tithes (allowing them to open up a daycare/job training center), $100,000 to the poor as an offering (keeping them from being evicted and put out on the street, allowing them to get the new jobs because you have to have an address to apply for most jobs), use $100,000 to pay off your debts (giving your creditors the resources to expand, hire more people, and lend more money to people who want to start businesses and own homes), and use the remaining $700,000 to start a job training/staffing firm of your own, which gets even more people off skid row and into stable homes and families, and grows into one of the nation’s largest and most prosperous companies of the sort, which will cause other people (including other Believers, church groups, and charitable organizations) to attempt to replicate your efforts. If ONE RIGHTEOUS MAN will STAND UP AND DO WHAT GOD WANTS HIM TO DO, GOD CAN USE HIM TO START AN ECONOMIC BOOM AND TRANSFORM A WHOLE NATION JUST AS JOSEPH SAVED EGYPT FROM THE DROUGHT! BUT JOSEPH HAD TO SPEND TWENTY YEARS AS A SLAVE AND IN PRISON TO GET THERE! 

But when you are walking in God’s Permissive Will, you only help yourself. Eventually God is going to give you that $1 million because you keep asking for it and He has to give it to someone and would rather it go to someone who loves Him through His Son. But no one is going to see you strive and work hard to get that blessing from the Lord and emulate it. You will be just another person who hit the lottery, married rich, or otherwise got lucky. And you will not have the mindset to bless others with that $1 million, let alone multiply it. You will either not tithe and give offerings or only do it grudgingly (i.e. holding back the “before tax” portion), making it an unacceptable sacrifice and blocking your future blessings on that money. And you will spend most of the rest on lusts and vanities, leaving just enough to pay off a creditor or two. Or you will just hoard it; put it in the bank. That would be the equivalent of you telling Jesus “when you roll away that stone there will be a stench and maggots and flies, and I have a weak stomach and just ate lunch, so I am out of here.” Lazarus does not stay in his grave, for God’s Will shall be done. It would have just happened another way at another time and result in someone else getting blessed. But the result is that the people who would have been set free had YOU demonstrated faith and obedience and followed God’s Perfect Will stay bound. For instance, imagine had David never faced Goliath. God would have still delivered Israel, and David would have even still been king. But it would have come at a price:
Israel would have had to have been ruled by the Philistines for a time. And God would have perhaps even used another line to use for Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, even using David’s line for Jesus Christ may not have been God’s perfect will, for God never intended for
Israel to have a king. Israel rejecting God’s Perfect Will and choosing His Permissive Will in asking for a king may have delayed Jesus’ coming for hundreds of years, and the rapture and the second coming still more! And the result of that delay: Satan being given that much more time to have dominion over the earth and to vex and destroy more and more of God’s Creation.
 

If you realize and accept that fact and what is at stake, not only for you but for the entire Body of Christ, you will start to want to use the action of your free will to do works of the spirit to provide evidence of and fulfill your faith just as spoken of in James 2:14-26 and as did the heroes of the Bible and of the faith (including God’s Own Son). You will start seeking and doing God’s Perfect Will. You will start rolling stones away so Lazaruses can come through. And in you God will be well pleased, and He will bless, justify, and exalt you exceedingly because He will be able to use you to bless and deliver so many of His Beloved Children. Is that not what you want for your God and yourself? If not, why not? I entreat you precious fellow Believer to commit yourself to seeking and doing God’s Perfect Will for you through the Holy Spirit today.  

 

Prayer:

Father God in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ, may Your Believers seek and perform Your Perfect Will through the Holy Spirit so that You might use your Believers as You please to do things according to Your Plan. In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Deliverance:

The demons that work in this area are false doctrine, false teaching, laziness, and complacency. It causes Believers to be passive instead of active; to settle for less than God’s best. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!

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