Sermon Transcript

Raleigh  October 1, 2011

CHRIST’S MIRACLES APPLIED TODAY

By Ron Kelley

People say: “if only I had seen the miracles Christ performed, I would have believed”.  Isn’t it hard to imagine that people could actually have witnessed the amazing miracles Christ did and still not really pay any attention to them?  After all, they were incredible things like healings, walking on water, casting out demons, and raising the dead.  Yet, after witnessing all these things during the 3-½ years of His ministry, only 120 followers were assembled on the Day of Pentecost.  Doesn’t it seem like people always want to see a miracle before they will believe?  Many people SAW Christ’s miracles and did NOT believe!  It’s because they didn’t want to believe the MESSAGE that came along with the person who was performing the miracles!  What was the purpose of the miracles during Christ’s ministry?  Were they to draw a following after Him?  If so, they didn’t succeed very well.  Who benefited from Christ’s miracles?  Just those who were healed of illnesses and demon possession?  Why aren’t we seeing these dramatic miracles today?  Or, is a better question; ARE we seeing dramatic miracles today and perhaps not recognizing them!  These are some of the questions I want to cover today as we take a closer look at the miracles described for us during the time of Christ.  How can we apply the miracles Christ performed to our lives today?  (That’s the title – “Christ’s miracles applied today).  What is the significance of these miracles to us?  What analogies or lessons can we draw from reviewing them?  I don’t believe that miracles are entirely for the world –for those who are not being called. The true miracles Jesus Christ did were simply not recognized by the people of Christ’s time.  Some may have had some temporary physical benefits form them, but most often, there was no really life-changing action taken as a result of most of the miracles Christ did.  On the other hand, miracles are for a witness to those God is calling.

Luke 10:

21  In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

22  All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

23  Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see;

24  for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.”

Through a miracle in its own right, we ARE able to see and hear of the spiritual things of God.  As we’ve read so many times in I Corinthians 2, that God has revealed the things of God by His Holy Spirit.  Therefore, we should be able to understand the purpose and meaning of the miracles.  They are to teach us a spiritual lesson.  We need to be sure we see and understand the spiritual lessons Christ intends for us to see in the miracles He performed.  I hope to show today that the physical miracles Christ performed for the people during His ministry are only a type of the miracles He would begin to do after His death and resurrection.  The miracles are for the people of what we call the New Testament Church. The miracles are truly for us today!   Christ promised in

John 14:

12  that “He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do ALSO, and greater works than these shall he do”.

So, we are to DO the works that Christ did!  What “works” did Christ do?  They are portrayed in the miracles that He did!  Therefore, we are to do these same miracles OR to experience them in our lives – AS they are applied to us.  So, let’s begin to take a look at the miracles Christ performed and see what spiritual lesson Christ intended to teach to those with eyes to see what He was really doing. The first miracle we’ll look at is Christ first recorded miracle – turning water into wine.

John 2:

 1  On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.

 2  Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.

 3  And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

 4  Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” 

 5  His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” 

 6  Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.

 7  Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

 8  And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.

 9  When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.

10  And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

11  This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

Now, this was a great miracle – especially for those wedding guests who happened to be at this wedding celebration.  Imagine what a fine wine this must have been!  Created on the spot by Jesus Christ Himself!   But, is there any spiritual significance for us today?  WHY did Christ use this opportunity for His first public miracle?  We need to remember that throughout the Bible God uses types and symbolism to help teach us spiritual lessons.  Many of the physical aspects of the Bible represent spiritual aspects that we should learn to apply.  We can apply the same thing to the miracles.  What is the basic thing we are dealing with in this story?  Simply the transformation of water into a fine wine.  It was accomplished by the power of God.  Are we not to also transform our lives?  Romans 12: 2 says we are to transform our minds to the ways of God instead of the ways of this world.

Romans 12:

 2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We are to repent of our past sins, be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and God promises to send the gift of the Holy Spirit.  It is a spirit of POWER and love and of a sound mind.  It is the “earnest of our inheritance” as it says in EPH 1:14.  It’s the down payment on eternal life!  God’s Holy Spirit is symbolized with water.  We read about God’s Spirit being “poured out”.  We baptize by immersion in water. 

Revelation 22:

17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” 

Again, water symbolically pictured as God’s Holy Spirit, now freely accessible to everyone in the Millennium.  So we see at the wedding Feast, Christ takes 6 containers and has them filled completely full of water.  We could say this symbolizes a person about to begin the process of conversion.  He is called, set apart, prepared and then filled with a full measure of God’s Holy Spirit.  Now, what is that person supposed to do, now that he’s been filled with God’s Spirit?  He’s to produce FRUIT! 

Galatians 5:

22  “the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance”. 

We are to experience a miraculous change in our lives!  People are going to see a different person developing right before their eyes!  Your attitudes, character, outlook, personality – everything about you is undergoing a major change!  You are producing GODLY CHARACTER!  It’s not instantaneous like the water changing to wine, but it is just as certain and even more miraculous! 

John 15:

 1  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

 2  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

 3  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

 4  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

 5  “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.

At baptism, we are connected to the branch of Jesus Christ and we begin to grow and bear much fruit.  It’s impossible to bear fruit without being connected to Jesus Christ!  Wine is often referred to as the “fruit of the vine”. So, by this miracle Christ is showing us we are to change our lives by the power of God’s Spirit into a fruitful, productive, spiritual life pictured by the wine at the wedding Feast.  We could also tie into this analogy, the fact that we’re going to experience our ultimate transformation at the return of Christ and be invited to a grand spiritual wedding supper where we are actually the Bride having just married Jesus Christ!

Let’s look at another miracle.  Casting out demons

Matthew 8:

23-32  When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.

29  And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

30  Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding.

31  So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”

32  And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.

33  Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 

So, we actually have two distinct miracles taking place here.  First we have the calming of the sea in the previous 2 verses, and immediately after that, the casting out of the demons.  I wonder if we can find a spiritual lesson here that might connect the two events.  We know Satan certainly does not make life easy for us.  Satan is our adversary, like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  Paul talked often about the warfare against Satan and his personal struggles as well. 

II Corinthians 12:

 7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” 

Satan and the demons “buffet” us like pounding waves of the sea. 

Ephesians 4:

11  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

13  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

14  that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

15  but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

16  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

We aren’t to allow ourselves to get all confused and disoriented spiritually.  We’re to be strong and remain calm not letting Satan toss us or buffet us about with every “wind” of doctrine.  We have a calmness, a stability about us and our beliefs.  We KNOW that Jesus Christ is in control.  He is very much in charge of our lives guiding us through the storms of life.  We have nothing to fear – not even Satan and the demons. 

Luke 4:

33  Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice,

34  saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”

35  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him.

36  Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” 

Clearly, Jesus Christ has supreme authority over Satan and the demons.  There are several examples in the Bible of demons being cast out and subject to Jesus Christ or to one in authority to cast out demons in Christ’s name.  That same miracle still happens to this day – and very likely happens EVERY day in our lives!  We are at war in a great spiritual battle for our very existence! 

Ephesians 6:

11  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Satan is doing everything he can to destroy us spiritually.  We must be constantly on guard and close to God wearing the armor of God we read about here.  But, what we can learn from the miracle of Christ casting out demons is that He is still busy today protecting us from the power and influence of the demons.  As long as we are close to God, we shouldn’t live in fear of Satan.  Christ has demonstrated time and time again that He is FAR more powerful than Satan and He will cast them AWAY from us!

Another miracle:  Feeding the 5000. 

John 6:

 5  Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”

 6  But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. 

 7  Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” 

 8  One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,

 9  “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” 

10  Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

11  And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples[a] to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.

12  So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”

13  Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.

14  Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

Talk about your ultimate fish fry!  I would assume someone was cooking the fish.  Hard to imagine what that must have been like for the person who was actually breaking off and preparing the fish – let alone breaking the bread!  Regardless, it was an incredible miracle!  What are we to learn today from this miracle?  How is this miracle being played out in our lives today? 

John 6:

16  Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea,

17  got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.

18  Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing.

19  So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.

20  But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

21  Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going. 

Notice, that very evening, Christ does another amazing miracle for the disciples.  He’s walking on the water; approaching the ship they’re in during a “great wind” storm!  Christ is about to give the people a very deep spiritual lesson in this chapter.  The multitudes were seeking Jesus because they were looking for more free food!   I think He wanted to get their minds OFF the fact that He had just provided a physical meal of meat and bread that had filled their stomachs and onto the fact that they were in the presence of the very Son of God!  I think we get a sense of that in the next few verses:

John 6:

25  And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” 

26  Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

27  Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” 

28  Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

29  Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

So Christ begins to tell the people there’s much more to Him than a free meal ticket.   He has their attention now BECAUSE of the miracles, but notice now what He says was the true purpose of multiplying the bread!   Let’s read a little more: 

John 6:

31  Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

32  Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you  the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

33  For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34  Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

35  And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

36  But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.

37  All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

38  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

39  This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

40  And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

41  The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.”

42  And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

43  Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.

44  No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

45  It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

46  Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.

47  Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

48  I am the bread of life.

49  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

50  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.

51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

52  The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

53  Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.

54  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

55  For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.

56  He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

57  As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.

58  This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

59  These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

60  Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

Once again, the public in general was not hearing or comprehending what Christ was telling them.  It’s the same today.  People can read right over what we consider clear Scriptures and not understand what we see clearly.  Christ was able to explain these things to His disciples privately.  Christ is raising the bar with His disciples a little here if you will.  He’s telling His disciples that they’re going to be going beyond the physical work of providing for the physical needs of the community – the Church.  The disciples are going to help provide for the SPIRITUAL needs of the Church!  They are going to be doing GREATER works!  Just as Christ taught the disciples about the TRUE bread, we are also to understand Christ’s role as the Bread of Life.  We re-enact that every year at the Passover.  We ingest that small piece of unleavened bread symbolic of Christ, the Bread of Life living His life IN us. 

Deuteronomy 8:

 3  So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.  

We are to live by the Bread of Life.  We’re to live by the Word of God, everything written in the Bible is to be what WE hunger and thirst after. We’re to hunger and thirst after righteousness!  Who supplies us this bread of life?  Jesus Christ, of course!  He provides an unending supply of spiritual meat and bread!  By an incredible miracle, Jesus Christ opens our minds to SEE and understand the words of the Bible – the Bread of Life.  There is no end to the spiritual growth, the spiritual nourishment of this bread.  Of course, not only does Christ supply our spiritual bread, but also we are also dependent on Him for our daily PHYSICAL bread!  That’s why part of the model prayer is GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.   So you see, the miracle of the unending bread continues today, but on a much grander scale!

Another miracle Christ did many times was that of healing the sick.  I would guess this may be the one miracle we all might wish we be common today.  We’re always reading about people so sick with cancers and heart disease.

Matthew 8:

 1  When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.

 2  And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

 3  Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 

 4  And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,

 6  saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” 

 7  And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 

 8  The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.

 9  For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 

10  When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!

Notice that healing is associated here with faith.  Did everyone that Christ healed during His ministry have the faith that He would heal them?  Obviously, not – many of them didn’t even know who He was.  Still, we see Christ USING healing to TEACH us about faith.  There were many miraculous healings during His ministry to help build the faith of His disciples and those whom God would later call into the Church.  Once again, the purpose of the miracles is not for the public as a whole.  Their main benefit is going to be for those who are called.  OK…I’m not really sure we need to ask this question, but I’m going to anyway.  Is God performing the miracle of healing still today?  Do we believe that God heals in a miraculous way?   Let me ask another question to help you answer this.  How many of you have ever been anointed because of a sickness or injury?  How many of you got well?  I don’t think there should be any doubt that we have far more people HEALED of diseases than we have of people dying from diseases.  True, some people don’t recover in this life and are allowed to die.  Does that mean God didn’t heal them?  God has promised to heal ALL our diseases!  God’s definition of healing includes being healed by death and being resurrected with a new spirit body in the twinkling of an eye!  Still, you can talk to about any member of the congregation and hear of stories of absolutely miraculous healings that have taken place – either to them personally, or to someone they know of.  God does heal today!  And as at the time of Christ, faith is still very much an integral part of WHY God heals!

James 5:

14  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

15  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

16  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

So Christ speaks of the prayer of FAITH and having effectual FERVANT prayers FULL of faith that God indeed HEARS the prayers and IS a God that heals today!  He is a God quite capable of healing – and in fact is a God who PROMISES He will heal ALL OUR DISEASES.

Psalm 103:

 3  says: “Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;”

God is no less capable of miraculous healings today than He was in 30AD.  God loves us very much and obviously does not want us to be sick, diseased or injured.  God PROMISES healings and that promise is just as binding today.  We simply need to have the faith that God will answer the prayer and do it in His time, His manner and for our ultimate benefit.  Keep in mind God has as His ultimate goal our SPIRITUAL growth and development – our spiritual HEALING if you will.  It’s far more important that our spiritual condition is healed than our physical bodies.  We could even say that the miracle of Christ healing physical bodies during His ministry was only a type of the spiritual healing He was about to introduce to the world through His Holy Spirit.

Let’s look at another miracle – this time involving the disciple Peter walking on the water.

Matthew 14:

22  Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.

23  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.

24  But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 

25  Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.

26  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 

27  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 

28  And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 

29  So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

30  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 

31  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

32  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 

33  Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” 

Once again, FAITH is very much connected with the performance of a miracle.  The disciples and the first members of the fledgling New Testament Church are going to be faced with enormous challenges in the months and years that are to follow.  They didn’t have all the incredibly inspiring Scriptures that we have today to read about Christ and the Holy Spirit.  They were actually going to BECOME the examples that WE take courage and inspiration from!  Today, we can read and believe that Peter really did walk on the water reaching out towards Jesus Christ.  We can read about how he took his eyes off the goal and focused instead on himself and his physical surroundings and began to sink!  This story has had incredible significance and meaning for all those members of God’s Church who have followed in his footsteps.   We’re told in II Corinthians 5:7 that we are to “walk by faith, not by sight”.   That’s the lesson of Peter walking on the water.  It was completely impossible “by sight”, but by a complete and total faith and trust in Christ, it actually happened.  The same thing is true for us today.  There are many things we may face in our Christian life that may seem impossible looking at it with the eyes of normal human reasoning and logic.  But that’s not the life God has called us to.  He’s called us to “walk on the water”.

Hebrews 10:38-39  (Amp)

“But the just shall live by faith. My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting his relationship to God and divine things, and he shall live by holy fervor or zeal, born of faith and joined with it.  And if he draws back and shrinks in fear, my soul has no delight or pleasure in him.  But our way is not that of those who turn back to eternal perdition and who are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe, who cleave to, and trust in, and rely on God through Jesus Christ; and by faith preserve the soul.”

Quite a description of living our life by faith given to us here.  Then we go directly into Hebrews 11, which is the Faith Chapter where we see example after example of people doing exactly that – living by total CONVICTION – KNOWING that we have a divine relationship with God – believing that with all our hearts.  And because of that, we CLEAVE to our belief and trust in Jesus Christ with total reliance on Him to preserve us no matter what!  He is able to keep us from sinking no matter what storms of life come our way!

One last miracle that we’ll take a look at today – perhaps the greatest miracle of all – raising the dead to life.

John 11

Here’s the story of Lazarus.  You’ll recall Lazarus was very sick and his sisters notified Christ.  However, instead of coming immediately, Christ waited two more days before coming.  When he arrived, Lazarus was already dead.  But Christ has something in mind.  He’s going to be teaching some very important lessons here.

John 11

23  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 

24  Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 

25  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

26  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Christ is teaching a spiritual lesson here about repentance, baptism, conversion and the Resurrection.  All of these concepts can be found in type in this physical resurrection of Lazarus back to life.

John 11

40  Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

41  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

42  And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

43  Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”

44  And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.

And so we have an incredible miracle of someone who had been dead 4 days raised up out of the grave; coming forth wrapped in his grave clothes like a mummy would be.  No doubt, quite a spectacular sight for those who witnessed this.  Wouldn’t it be incredible to actually see something like this?  How many of you have ever witnessed a baptism in God’s Church?  I would submit to you that you have all seen something greater than a man being raised back to physical life after being dead.

Romans 6:

 3  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

 4  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

 5  For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,

 6  knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

When someone is baptized and they are lowered under the water, the old man; the old self DIES! That old body is symbolically left in the watery grave – dead and buried.  But a NEW body is RESURRECTED up out of the bonds of death.   You are literally a NEW person!  Jesus Christ has given you NEW LIFE!  You were dead, but by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for your sins, He gives you the opportunity to live again – this time to live your life LIKE JESUS CHRIST because you are now SERVANTS of Jesus Christ!  This change – this conversion of a human mind to ACCEPT the sacrifice of Christ and to surrender to His will in your life is the GREATEST MIRACLE GOD CAN PERFORM; just like raising the dead to life was the greatest miracle Jesus Christ performed during His 3 ½ year ministry.

So, what do you think?  Do we still have miracles today?   I hope you can see that we clearly do!  Granted, we may not have as many of the PHYSICAL TYPES of miracles like Christ did during His ministry, but today we see much more the SPIRITUAL FULFILLMENT of these incredible miracles!  Remember, God still does use what we’re calling “physical miracles” today, but when He does, it’s for a particular reason or purpose.  Many times, it’s as a personal blessing to those in His Church.  Things such as healings, protection, financial blessings, answered prayers – all of these are miracles direct from God Almighty Himself!  God uses these things to strengthen our faith, and He does these things because He is a loving Father taking care of His beloved little children.  God still uses miracles as a witness to the world of where His Work is being done.

Mark 16:

17  And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

18  they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So Christ clearly indicates miraculous things will be done in conjunction with the Work of God to bring the gospel message to the world; sometimes to a greater or lesser extent than others.  We know that there is a time coming when miracles will be used to a much GREATER extent to help preach the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.

Revelation 11:

 3  And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

 4  These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.

 5  And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.

 6  These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.

Again, the purpose of the miracles will be to direct attention to the MESSAGE that is being proclaimed – not to the messenger!  God is going to see to it that this world receives a warning message and that the world knows that the return of Jesus Christ as Lord of Lords and King of Kings is imminent!

One more place I want to go before we conclude.

II Thessalonians 2

God the Father and Jesus Christ are not the only spirit beings who are capable of performing what we call miracles.  We read that Satan also uses miracles in an attempt to deceive mankind.

II Thessalonians 2:

 7  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

 8  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

 9  The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

10  and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.

A time of miraculous deception is about to descend on this Earth.  Satan will have this world so deluded and confused by lying wonders and strong delusion that they will unite forces at the return of Christ and make an attempt to destroy Him as the Anti-Christ!   That’s why we’re told in

II Thessalonians 2:

15  “Therefore brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions you have been taught…”

We must be grounded in the SPIRITUAL miracles from God so that we will not be fooled by the false miracles of the Devil.

I John 4:  Here’s one last warning about miracles.

 1  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

 2  By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3  and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Christ had already taught His disciples earlier about this when He told them:

“By their FRUITS you shall know them!(Matthew 7:20)

Again, it has to do with the message!   If the message associated with the miracle is according to the proven Word of God, then the miracle must be of God!  But if one performing a miracle proclaims something contrary to what you have proven is TRUTH, then the source of the miracle is NOT OF GOD!

And so brethren, we see that indeed God is working incredible miracles in our lives today.  Miracles continue to serve a vital purpose in the Work of the Church and in our own personal spiritual growth. They help build and strengthen our faith and our commitment to God.   God is in the business of creating His character in those whom He has called and will call.  That in itself is the world’s greatest miracle, but we see that God will continue to use miracles now and in the future to focus attention on His Work, His Message and His People; and to focus OUR attention on the incredible SPIRITUAL miracles He is performing in the lives of His People today.

CHRIST’S MIRACLES APPLIED TODAY