MIRACLES!?

MIRACLES!?

Featured in the March, 2016 Issue of the Ashburn Baptist News

You cannot have real Christianity without miracles. Miracles are the evidence of God’s love and concern for His people. So-called Christianity without miracles is nothing but ethical humanism. It is like the sun without warmth, like the body without blood.

A so-called Christianity which has prayers, creeds, rituals and ceremonies, but no miracles should be avoided. Paul spoke of this when he said, “Having a form of godliness but denying the power of it; from such turn away” (II Timothy 3:5).

A miracle is God doing for you what you cannot do for yourself. A miracle is an out-of-pattern occurrence produced by God’s power.

There are two sources of supernatural power: God and Satan. The human problem is that we are plagued by Satan’s supernatural power and therefore, bound, blinded and cursed by sin. Natural power is no match for Satan’s supernatural power. Only God’s power…a miracle…holds any hope for helpless human beings.

Some people piously acknowledge miracles in Bible times, but say, “The day of miracles has passed.” If this is true, then the day of Christianity has passed. What “God” is this who can do miracles two thousand years ago, but not now?! God clearly says, “I am the Lord!; I change not” (Malachi 3:6). On Pentecost Peter preached about Jesus, saying, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs which God did by Him in the midst of you…” (Acts 2:22). And the same Bible says of our Savior, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Miracles are not a luxury, but a necessary part of Christianity. Satan’s impressive forces cannot be thrown back except by the demonstration of God’s power. Miracles bring glory to God and keep us humble because we are ever reminded that Christ’s cause is not advanced by psychology, salesmanship, ingenuity, human energy, or cleverness; but by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

In the Bible, miracles are often called “wonders” because they cause us to be absolutely amazed at the display of God’s mighty power in our midst. Miracles are often referred to as “signs” because they point to what God can do to draw attention to Himself.

Miracles defy explanation. They are not contrary to science, but soar above scientific knowledge. They are an evidence that human brilliance does not hold the solution to the problems of sinful men. Miracles do not glorify people, but bring glory to God.

Every real conversion to Christ is a miracle. For a person’s attitudes to be changed and the whole direction of his life turned away from hell and toward heaven is nothing but a wonder-work of God in the human heart.

Saul of Tarsus was a vicious, Christ-hating, Christian-killing fanatic with a poisoned mind and a perverted personality. He says of himself, “Who was before a blasphemer and a persecutor and injurious” (I Timothy 1:13). But, this man was so marvelously transformed by the grace of Christ, that he devoted his entire life to preaching the Gospel, winning souls and establishing churches. In order to so live for the Lord, he forsook all personal gain, worldly ambition, and received for his labors beatings, stoning, imprisonments, persecutions … how can you account for such a change in a man’s life apart from the miracle- working power of God!

Every real born-again person is a miracle, a wonder, a sign. A money-squandering, wife-beating, job-jumping drunk transformed into a faithful husband, good father, upright citizen, who says simply, “The Lord changed my life” — what is this, but a miracle!

The covetous man who ignored his family, abused his friends and neglected his health, all in his mania to get more money, suddenly is saved by Jesus and now loves Christ instead…what can we say, but another miracle. A self-centered, self-loving, self-worshipping egotist now is living his life for Christ because he has been touched by the power of God … again a miracle!

The starting of a Christian church in the moral cesspool of Corinth, was nothing but a mighty miracle of God. The establishment of any real church in a hostile and pagan society is nothing but a supernatural act of the Lord. Faith is the key that unlocks the flow of God’s power among us. Though some people believe because they witness miracles, it is more often true that we witness miracles because we believe. Unbelief will block God’s power. When Jesus visited Nazareth it was said, “He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58). The word of Christ always is “Only believe” (Mark 5:36) and “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).

An amazing fact is that of the thirty-five miracles Christ performed, people share in twenty-nine of them. God will do what we cannot do, but will not do for us that which we are able to do for ourselves. Frequently, God expects us to do something as an evidence of our faith.

This Bible teaching is most clear. First we act, displaying our faith; then God acts, displaying His power. At Cana’s wedding, the water was not turned to wine until the servants first filled the water pots with water (John 2). The nobleman’s son was not healed until the nobleman obeyed Jesus by going home, this obedience being an evidence of his faith (John 4:46-54). The disciples did not have a miraculous catch of fish until they first gave evidence of their faith by letting down their nets (Luke 5:1-12). The leper prays, then is healed (Mark 1:40-45). Prayer itself is an act of faith, for why pray if you don’t think anything will come of it? Faith sometimes may even appear to be fanatical. The four men who brought the paralytic to Jesus tore up the roof in order to let the man down to where the Lord stood. But, their faith was honored in his healing (Mark 2:1-12). A man crippled for thirty-eight years was told to show his faith by picking up his pallet and walking (John 5:1-9). Only then was he healed. Obviously, real faith does not wait for miracles but acts in expectation of God’s power displayed. Incredibly the man with the withered hand is asked to stretch it forth as a display of his faith (Mark 3:1-6).

Christ signals the pall bearers to stand still with the casket. Only when they do so is the young man at Nain raised from the dead (Luke 7:11-17). The five loaves and two fishes are not multiplied to feed the five thousand until in faith the apostles begin to distribute them to the multitude (John 6:1-13). Only when the hook is put in the water do the disciples get the money from the fish’s mouth (Matthew 17:24-27).

The blind man is not healed until he shows his faith by going to wash in Siloam’s pool (John 9:1-8). Jesus will not raise Lazarus from the dead till those standing by openly display their faith by removing the stone from the tomb. Even after Lazarus is raised, others are instructed to remove the grave clothes, as God will not do for us that which we can do for ourselves (John 11:1-44).

Perhaps it is not so much the day of miracles has passed, as the day of faith has passed. The unfaithful, gloomy, sour, negative, skeptical fellow who can always give you ten reasons why God’s work can’t succeed, should not be expecting miracles.

Faith is not foolishness, nor is it a leap in the dark. Faith is simply resting completely upon the firm foundation of God’s written Word and expecting God to do all that he has promised. Unbelief insults God because it questions His character and denies His power. Faith honors the Lord because it is that attitude of mind and heart which is assured that God delights to glorify Himself in our midst!