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Question: What did Jesus mean when He said, "You can do all I can
and even better"? Something about you have the power of the one
that sent me.

A: Text is John 14:12: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who
believes in Me, the
works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he
will do, because I go to My Father."
1. Context: Conversation w/ apostles, especially Philip.
     a. The disciples need not fear that Christ's physical absence
will mean loss of power to perform miracles. From heaven Jesus will
continue to supply them with this power.
     b. Condition: Only those who espoused his cause would be
privileged to serve as the instruments through whom the power of
God would be exercised. Would enter upon a ministry even greater:
in quantity: world wide mission far beyond the pale of Jewry to
which Jesus had limited himself in his public ministry (Woods.309).
After He ascended to the Father and the HS came in His name, a
greater and more extended work would be done by the fuller
inspiration of the apostles, and the more extended mission they
would fill...3000 obeyed the Gospel the day the church began.
Converted from death to life at Pentecost. The book of Acts is a
commentary on this promise.
     c. "Greater works would then relate to the wider opportunities
which the disciples would have when Jesus returned to the Father.
It would then be possible for Jesus to work through His people"

     d. The very nature of Jesus' appearance on earth required
miraculous manifestations of His power; but those miracles,
wonderful as they were, had an inherent limitation. Hend: According
to this great saying of our Lord, the greater works are the
spiritual works...Does Jesus, by this means of comparison, which
places the spiritual so far above the physical, hint that miracles
in the physical sphere would gradually disappear when they would no
longer be necessary?" (Coff.333).

     e. Because I go to the Father..." The great works wrought by
the apostles did not take place in the spite of Jesus' going to the
Father but because he did go to the Father. Thus, the greater works
the apostles were to do were still truly the works of Jesus our

                             Acts 19

1-7: The twelve rebaptized.
Intro: The historian now reaches the point for which he had so
hurriedly passed over the voyage of Paul from Ephesus to Antioch,
and his land journey thence through Galatia and Phrygia (NMcG.150).
Paul is permitted at last to begin a work which he had in mind
when, on his preceding tour, he was "forbidden by the H.S. to speak
the word in Asia, 16:6; and also to fulfill the appointment which
he had left here on his journey homeward, 18:21 (ibid).

1) Disciples: word means a learner. In this particular passage the
word does not mean a Christian.

2) when ye believed as used here, refers to conversion.
     The Holy Spirit here would not refer to the ordinary gift of
the H.S. All believers receive H.S., Acts 2:38. Under consideration
then would be the miraculous. This is further shown "by the fact
that it is this which he conferred upon them at the close of the
conversation" (ibid.151). This of course could be given to them
only by an apostle (Acts 8:17,18).

     It is not likely that they had never heard of the existence of
the H.S. The O.T. is full of references to Him. Probable meaning is
that they did not know that the H.S. had been given. Thus they were
ignorant of the events of Pentecost, and of the N.T. being

3) Since they not only could not work miracles, but did not even
know that the H.S. had come, this raised the question of whether
they had been scripturally baptized. They were either taught by
Apollos, or someone like him. They were ignorant of the baptism of

4) Paul showed them the temporary nature of John's work in pointing
forward to Christ. Now that Jesus had come and had accomplished the
Father's work, men were to render obedience to Him.
     A baptism of repentance Mk.1:14,15.

5) Upon hearing and believing this, they were baptized into the
name of Jesus.

     Here were men who had been baptized but did not know of the
coming of Christ or of the H.S. Because of this, they had to be
rebaptized. Application: If today a person is baptized to enter a
denomination, he does not understand the purpose of baptism. If one
is baptized thinking he is saved, as is almost always the case
among denominations, he has not been scripturally baptized, for
scriptural baptism is "for the remission of sins. If a person were
baptized just to please someone else, the same would apply.

6) After their baptism, Paul laid his hands on them, imparting to
them miraculous gifts. This is the only way that men besides
apostles could work miracles. Only apostles could impart miraculous
     1 Tim. 4:14 is misused. with (meta) means to accompany. 2 Tim.
1:6 tells us how Timothy received gift. (dia)--"the means or
instrument by which anything is affected" (Thayer.133)
     Thus when the last apostle died, the power to impart the
ability to perform miracles ceased. When the last person on whom an
apostle laid hands died, miracles ceased. Therefore there is not a
man living on earth today who can perform miracles.

Extended preaching at Ephesus
8) Preached in synagogue 3 months. Some were hardened and
disobedient, thus Paul separated himself from them. cf. 18:5-6.
     We learn that when one becomes hardened and disobedient to the
Word, the time has come to look for someone else to teach (Mt.

9-10) Paul then began to preach daily in the school of Tyrannus.
This was done for 2 years.

11) Special miracles. Similar to woman touching garment (Mk.5:25-
27). Purpose of these and all miracles (Heb.2:3,4).
     NASB: "extraordinary miracles": All miracles are
extraordinary, but there were extra-special. They were wrought
without personal contact with the patient. (Reese.677)

12) Reese: Latin origin. Handkerchief: speaks of the towel used to
wipe sweat from the brow or face. We might call it a hand towel, or
shop towel, or even a sweatband. The word "apron" speaks of the
short apron worn around the waist by the craftsmen as they worked--
worn to preserve the clothes from wear and tear and soil. As Paul
was working at his trade of tentmaking it would have been common to
use such garments. The picture behind the words "carried away from
his body to the sick" is of Christians coming to Paul as he was
working and carrying away with them the very towels and aprons
which he had been wearing. Of course, the power to heal was not in
the cloth. We must never forget that God is the source of power
behind genuine miracles. The efficacy of such media stands
obviously on the same footing as that of the hem of Jesus' garment
(Mt. 9:20-21), the shadow of Peter (Acts 5:15) or the clay used in
the healing of the blind man (Jno. 9:6). There are men today, on
radio and TV, who urge their listeners to send in for clothes that
have been blessed--apparently taking their example from this text.
However, we contend that miracles in NT times were wrought to
credential messengers; and since the modern so-called miracle
workers do not even preach the NT message, their works are either
fake or wrought by a power other than the Divine (677-8)

13) Jewish impostors. These events manifested to everyone,
especially to magicians, the difference between the power of the
apostle Paul, and these impostors. Because of this, many gave up
their magic and burned their books, amounting to several thousand

           Who are the ministers of God in Romans 13?

Intro: We saw in ch. 12 that Paul began with the fundamental
transformation (1,2). Then the relationship of the Christian to
his fellow Christian (3-16). Relationship to the world, including
enemies (17-21). 

     Jesus taught that we are to render to God the things which
are God's and to Caesar the things which are Caesar's. This
principle is enlarged upon in this chapter. Also, this chapter
flows out of the last few verses of ch. 12.

1) Governments are appointed by God.
     The responsibility of subjection is directed to everyone,
regardless of his social status. Soul: 1 Pet. 3:20; Acts 7:14.
     Present active imper.: keep on being in subjection.
     It was highly distasteful for the Jew to be subject to the
Roman government, and there was the danger that when they became
Christians they would hold on to their former prejudice. Gentile
converts might feel that having confessed Jesus Christ as their
king, they were not subject to any other government (Cf. Titus
3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-15).

     Subjection is not based upon government being just. But
those in power had best realize that they are there through God's
providence (Dan. 17,25,32) (G.). cf. Dan. 4:17,25; Rev. 1:5;

     Pilate's unjust sentence was an abuse of his power
(Jno.19:10). Nero abused his power. But such did not negate the
principle of submission to the government (G).

     Also note the plural "powers." All governmental authorities.

2) This point logically and of necessity follows from v. 1. If
the governing authorities are ordained by God, then if one
resists those authorities, he resists the ordinance of God.
     The exception: when the ordinance of man would bring un into
violation to an ordinance of God (Acts 5:29; Rev. 2:13). 

3) Government also has its responsibilities. The first duty is to
protect society. Rulers are not a terror to good works. Not by
God's design! They are to promote good works. (G)
     The one who obeys the laws generally has nothing to fear
from the government. On the other hand, those who do evil ought
to be afraid, because God has given the government the power to
punish the evil doer.

     They are obligated to be a terror to evil works. Murderers,
rapists, thieves, child seducers, those who deal in drugs,
prostitution, gambling, should be actively opposed by the
government (G).

     When government goes astray from this principle and begins
to punish the righteous and reward the criminal, it is no longer
a minister of God. (ibid)

4) A second responsibility of government is to punish the
lawbreakers, not to pamper them. Sword: Decapitation was the
common method of execution for citizens.
     The MACHAIRA here is the sword in the hands of the
executioner who inflicts the death penalty on criminals. 
     Note that the government, not the individual, is to execute
this wrath.

     "Our society should shed a tear for its victims of crime. We
have heard much about crowded conditions in prisons, but let us
remember that the victims of murderers do not have much room in
their coffins either. The idea of keeping murderous monsters up
to the tune of thousands of dollars of taxpayer's money is one of
the more ludicrous activities of our time" (Green).

5) With this statement Paul goes back to v.1. There it is an
admonition; here it is a statement of necessity.
     Two reasons are given for subjection: 
          a) Wrath: Fear of punishment. Ill. officer with machine
gun in bank in Prague. Line formation; out of way of door.
     Healthy fear is good: Teach our children to fear unguarded
fires, deep and dangerous waters, dangerous heights.

          b) Conscience: The Christian has another, and a higher
objective. "Not only because it is dangerous to resist, but also
because it is right to submit" (Erdman). Because it is God's will
that we do so.
     To strive to be within what we are seen to be without. There
are those who act n private as they act in public.... because
they will fragment within if they don't. (Mcq.383). It is never
desirable or expedient to oppose the conscience.

     The lack of swift and just punishment today is constantly
eroding the first (Vinson). (cf. Eccl. 8:11).

6) Because of the truth expounded in vv. 1-5 we are to pay taxes
     For the third time, Paul calls government officials the
ministers or servants of God. (G)
     "This very thing" refers to punishing the evildoer and
protecting the good.

     Here again there is a responsibility of the Government.
Gibbon said that one of the five major causes of the fall of the
Roman Empire was "higher and higher taxes until the load became
unbearable, while officials of the empire continued to spend
public funds with reckless indifference."

7) Tribute: paid by a subject nation (Mt. 22:15-22.
Custom: Tax for support of civil government (Matt. 17:25).

Also: pray 1 Tim. 2:1-4.

Question: Please explain the gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11-15.

Intro: In vv. 1-3 we see the unity of the Spirit, and the
disposition necessary for unity to be achieved and maintained. In
vv. 4-6 we see the unifying facts--the seven-fold basis of unity.
In vv. 7-16, the unifying gifts that God has given.

11) Apostles. Laid the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:19-20).
Laid only once, hence no successors. To witness (Acts 1:8,21-22;
2:32-33; 10:39-41). All truth revealed to them (Jno.16:13; Eph.
3:5). Credentials (2 Cor. 12:12). There were then, as today,
false apostles (2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rev. 2:2).
     Prophets. Inspired teachers (Acts 11:27-30; 13:1-3; 21:9-
10). Also laid foundation (Eph. 2:19-20). Received revelation
(Eph. 3:5).
     Evangelists. Function: to preach the Gospel. Examples:
Philip (Acts 21:8). Timothy (2 Tim. 4:5).

     Pastors. Shepherds, to feed the flock
     That these are the same as elders and bishops can be seen
from Acts 20:17 and 28.  Elders are limited in their oversight to
the flock "over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers..."
(Acts 20:28). The elders which Peter addressed are commanded to
feed or tend the flock of God "which is among you, taking the
oversight thereof..." (1 Pet. 5:2). Qualified elders have all
they can handle when they oversee the one flock as God ordained
(Heb. 13:17).
     Teachers. Instructors. Faithful and able (2 Tim. 2:2; Jas.

12) The Purpose: for the perfecting or the maturing and growth of
the saints, eis (unto) the work of mutual service, eis (unto) the
great end of building up the entire body. (Lk. 6:40; 1 Cor. 1:10;
Heb. 13:21; 1 Pet. 5:10).
     All Christians are called to the ministry (Green). To serve,
to bear fruit. (Acts 6:1; Rom. 12:7).
     Some obviously feel they can hire a preacher to do their
work. But the preacher's work is to equip the brethren to do
their work (Green).
     This passage gives emphasis to the fact that we are to help
each other grow!

13) "Till": the goal that we should constantly strive for.
     The unity of the faith is unity based upon God's word.
Growing as a Christian, and becoming more and more like Jesus.

14) Becoming unmovable.
     The church is not a perpetual playpen for spiritual babies.
Goal is maturity in Christ.
     Children can be convinced of about anything. They are
unstable. They like to be entertained and excited.
     The word "sleight" is translated from kubos from which we
derive "cube." It refers to the throwing of dice, and apparently
a reference is implied of using dishonesty in gambling (Green).
     They are described as "cunning" and "crafty." They don't
miss a trick. They are religious con-men. Saints cannot afford to
continue very long as novices. Paul could not give the
Corinthians the strong, spiritual nourishment they so desperately
needed because they were still babies and were not in a
sufficiently mature state to receive it (1 Cor. 3:1-3).
     These wolves are further described as "lying in wait to
     Mormons, JW's and others are not slack when it comes to
their efforts of proselyting disciples.

15) Truth is often spoken without love. Let's speak the truth,
but let us make certain that we don't make it unattractive with a
rotten attitude (4:1; 5:1,2 Green).

     Every day as we practice this exhortation we shall find
ourselves conformed more closely to His image.
16) If the body/church is to grow, the members will have to work
     Bound closely, even as the bones of our physical bodies are
fitly joined at the joints.
     Each part of the body works together with every other part
to make the body move and function.

If you have corrections, questions, comments or suggestions about these questions and answers, please contact Leon Mauldin directly at

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