Rabbi Schneider - Receive More Than You Ask
Now the most famous benediction of all is not in the New Testament. It's in the Hebrew Bible, it's in the Torah, from the book of Numbers chapter 6 verses number 24 through 26. We often times refer to it as the Aaronic Blessing and I actually have a whole teaching on the Aaronic Blessing that's separate from this series. So you can go to Discovering the Jewish Jesus and you can get that teaching, once again, on the Aaronic Blessing; where I take apart the Hebrew words in the Aaronic Blessing, from the 6th chapter from the book of Numbers and help you to understand the meaning. And it's such an incredible word, because it was the Lord Himself that said, "The Lord bless you and keep you". So once again, the most famous benediction of all is in the Hebrew Bible, but we're gonna be in this series, looking at benedictions from the New Testament.
Now what is a benediction? I'm gonna give you two definitions for a benediction. Number one, it's an utterance of blessing bestowed on God's people by God Himself. Often times it's at the end of an Epistle or a letter in the New Testament. Let me say it again, a benediction is an utterance of blessing from God. It often happens at the end of a religious service. And we find many of the benedictions in scripture towards the end of the letter. In other words, Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians, the letter to the Thessalonians, etc. But beyond that a benediction is any blessing of God uttered upon His people. So let me one again just for clarity speak about understanding a benediction in three ways.
Number one, a benediction is a blessing of God upon His people. It's often times found, but not always at the end of one of the books in the New Testament. And thirdly a benediction is often times spoken at the end of a religious service. So those of you, especially those of you that attend traditional denominational churches know that part of the order of service includes at the very end of the service, the pastor or the priest will pronounce a benediction on the people. And usually those benedictions are coming straight out of scripture. What we're gonna be doing, is we're gonna be going right into the Word of God, directly into the words of scripture to find out what it is that God has blessed His people with. It's so encouraging to me when I approach God knowing that I'm approaching Him in truth and the way that we determine what truth is beloved, is through the words of scripture.
Now let me share something with you. Often times we can minimize, sometimes folks minimize the importance of reading God's Word. Some people, listen, they're just looking for an experience. They think you know, "I don't need to read the Bible. The Bible's boring. I've read the Bible before. I just want to experience God for myself". And you know what? I understand that, because I also crave an experience. I want to know those rivers of living water that Jesus spoke of that come forth from our inner most being. The cry of my heart is to know in fullness Jesus' promise when He said, "If you believe in Me, My spirit will become within you a well of living water bubbling up to eternal life that you'll hunger and thirst no more," to be totally satisfied by God by His spirit. That's what I crave. That experience. All God's people do. But we also need to understand that God imparts Himself to His people, get it now, through the written Word of God. And sometimes we can minimize how we can experience God, listen to me, through the reading of His Word.
You see, Jesus when He defeated the devil He quoted the scriptures. Paul said about the scriptures that they've been written for us. So I want you to understand, you can receive an impartation from the Spirit of God Himself through His Word and I believe you will as we get now into the Word of God. Let's go to the first scripture. I'm not necessarily gonna go in order, because we'll be going from one book to another book and I'll maybe come back, etc. But I want you even to take notes on some of these scriptures and meditate on them. We're gonna go to the first benediction that I want to cover in the New Testament. I'm going now to the book of Ephesians, one of my favorite books in the Bible. We're going to Ephesians chapter number 3 and I want to read for you now verse 20 and 21. And then we'll take it apart a little bit and try to get an appreciation in a greater way as to how this affects our lives today, how God is in actuality blessing us.
Hear the Word of God, Ephesians chapter 3 verse 20. "Now to Him," this is a benediction, "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen". Let me read verse 20 again. "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us". Isn't that an awesome thing, to realize that God is so merciful, He's so gracious, He's so good, He's so kind, that He'll even do more for us than we can conceive. You know we often times have heard the saying in the world, "Anything the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve".
Well there's some truth in that, because in order to achieve something you have to see it, you have to conceive it, you have to believe it and you have to go after it. There is some truth there. Jesus said, "All things are possible to those that believe". But what's even more amazing is that this benediction promises us that God is able and will do even more for us than we can conceive or believe. Listen what He says, "Now to him that is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think".
So God is so good. He's so gracious. Even if we can't see a reality or conceive a reality, in other words, somehow we recognize that we're not fully grasping our ability to trust God; or we see that we're not fully grasping the dimension of the fact that we live in a spiritual world, that we're still bound by earthly relationships and can't really see beyond those relationships to fully trust in God. Whatever it may be, God is so merciful and His Word promises, beloved one, that He's able to do more for us than you and I ask or think. That to me just brings me real encouragement and real comfort. So I just want to ask right now that Father would impart to us the ability to open our hearts to trust Him in a way that is far greater than anything that we're able to conceive of right now.
Father God in Jesus name, You promise that You're able to do far more abundantly beyond that which we ask of You or even can think of You and conceive of You. Father we thank You that You're so big, that You're so good, that You're so awesome, that Your love so covers us and Father You're doing something so wild for us beyond our wildest imagination. Father Your Word says that, "Neither has it entered into the mind of man the things that God has prepared for those that love Him". So Father we just want to thank You today that You're so good and so much even better than anything that we can conceive. So Father we ask You in Jesus name to open up our hearts and minds to conceive, Father how big you are and to understand that You're working in our life in a way that's beyond anything that we're even asking of You or thinking of you.
Notice what else Paul writes here as he's declaring this Biblical benediction, this Biblical blessing over God's people. That this goodness, this grace that's at work in your life and my life, beloved one, so that God is doing for us more than we're asking Him to and more than we're even believing Him or conceiving Him for. That this goodness is working in our life, listen now, by the power that works within us. Last part of verse 20, "According," the Word says, "to the power that works within us".
What power is at work within us? It's the same power, the scripture tells us, that raised Jesus from the dead. The same Spirit, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, the same Spirit that brought Jesus back to life, the same Spirit that empowered Yeshua Hamashiach, the King of the Jews and the Messiah and Savior of the world to rise from the grave, to conquer every demon in hell, to ascend through every principality and every power that is now seated at the right hand of God. The same power that seated King Jesus at the right hand of the Father after conquering everything, that power is at work in your life and my life and He will continue to open up our hearts, our minds and the eyes of our understanding to see that there is so much more for you and I, because of God's love for us, then we've ever believed or even conceived of before. So Biblical blessing, Biblical benediction number 1, Ephesians chapter 3 verse 20 and 21. God's power is at work in your life. He's doing for you and I more than we can conceive of and more than we're asking Him for and that's according to the Word of God.
Now let's continue on. I want to go to the book of Jude now, chapter number 1 verse 24 and 25. "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen". Wow that's powerful. Let's just listen to it again. "Now to Him," because remember God is speaking this over us, His people and we're blessing Him and giving our lives to Him as we receive it. "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever more. Amen".
Let's take that apart a little bit, because there's many blessings of impartation here. Number one, "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling". I don't know about you, but for me, if I didn't have the confidence that God was upholding me, that He would be the one that would keep me from stumbling, I would have no confidence at all, because I have no confidence in my own ability to keep myself. All out confidence is in God. It's Him, beloved ones, that's upholding you and I. He's the one that keeps us from stumbling. You know when you and I stumble, listen, when we don't depend on Him. People that are stumbling and falling and failing all the time are doing it, because they haven't learned to become dependent on the Spirit. They're not dependent on God. But when we realize that there is no ability in our flesh to keep ourselves and as a result of that, depend on God to keep us; God then is able to keep us from stumbling.
Remember the two people that prayed. Jesus talked about the two men that prayed. One was a Pharisee and the other guy realized his own depravity. And the Pharisee said, "Lord". He said, "God I thank You that I'm not like this sinner next to me. I thank You God that I'm a Pharisee, that I love you, that I keep Your law". And then the guy that realized he had no righteousness in himself, He said, "God forgive me a sinner". And we remember the story, the parable, Yeshua said, "It was the sinner who went home justified". Why? Because he was the one that was depending on God. Beloved, God is the one that is able to keep you from stumbling.
I want to encourage you right now, regardless of how weak you are, the power that raised Jesus from the dead is able to keep you from stumbling. Listen, sometimes we go a step backward in order to go two steps forward. But overall when you depend on God, the trajectory of your life is gonna keep going up, up, up, and up and you're gonna find yourself, listen now, stumbling less and less. Let's say for example your problem is controlling your emotions and so many times you've got yourself in situations where rather than responding in a spirit filled rational way, instead you responded rashly, emotionally, you know in a way that really created a lot of destruction, or created a lot of confusion, or hurt a relationship. But you know when you grieve about that and you reach out to God and you keep depending on Him, what you find is that more and more you're not stumbling in that area anymore. You're getting stronger and stronger. You're finding yourself able to control your emotions. You're getting steadier and steadier.
But listen, no matter what your weakness is, whether it's controlling your emotions, whatever it is, controlling your flesh in any way, if you will depend on God He will keep you from stumbling. Again, I'm not saying that you'll never stumble, but that the trajectory of your life is gonna go up, up, up, up, and up. You're gonna get more and more rooted and grounded in Him. God is able to keep you from stumbling, by the power that raised Jesus from the dead. And listen what it says following this, it's even more powerful. And it says not only is He able to keep you from stumbling, beloved one, but listen, He's able to make you stand. Not only are you not gonna fail, but you're gonna stand. You know it's such an amazing thing when people that you know well and knew you when you were really falling, when you were really stumbling, when your way was crooked, when you were unbalanced and yet over time they saw you get stronger and stronger. They saw you stumble less and less and now they're actually seeing you standing and they say to you, "That's amazing the way that you've changed".
Beloved, that is the God that's at work in your life. We're being changed day by day. And anybody that's not changing, anybody that's not bearing fruit, anybody that's not getting stronger, anybody who's roots are not going deeper, listen, something is wrong. God not only will help us not to stumble, but beyond that beloved, He makes us stand in victory. And the text goes on here. We stand before Him, get it now, blameless and with great joy. So I just want you to hear me today. God has got a purpose for your life and for my life. The purpose is victory. God is raising us in victory. He is establishing you, beloved, in the strength of His Spirit and in the truth. And we need to be crying out to Him and depending on Him for this victory.
I don't know about you, but I'm not content with mediocrity. I want to make impact. I want people to see Jesus through me. I want to be standing in stability. I want to see and experience my own life being changed. And the Spirit of God within us is a continual well of living water of divine life bubbling up on the inside, imparting God Himself to us. And so if we're not growing in grace, if we're not supernaturally being changed, if we're not going from stumbling to standing, if we're not finding ourselves entering into deeper and deeper territory in the Spirit, we should be asking ourselves, "What's wrong"? Because eternal life, beloved, is alive.
You see God, listen to me, by nature is moving. God by nature is always active. In fact God's personal name, Yahweh, it is a verb that means continuous or is a verb tense that has the tense of, listen, continuous unfinished action. God is moving and He's alive in your life. But in order for us to receive the full benefit of that we need to be depending on Him, we need to be humble, we need to be depending on His Spirit rather than our flesh. And so today as we close, beloved one, I just want to encourage you, let's believe God for more. God wants you and I to experience what it's like to stand before Him blameless and with great joy and full of His glory.