252 It’s a Miracle Part One
It’s a miracle! Well that’s what it said on the packet.
It may have been an amazing hair product, a multi purpose cleaner, an heroic life saving rescue, tasty man made substitute, a surprise a chance re-union, but a miracle it is not. They may be and could have been monumental – but miraculous they are not. Why don’t we save that word MIRACLE for something for when as the dictionary defines it is …“an event contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause”. The virgin birth is a miracle, the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, … they would say “that’s got to be a God thing”.
Because only God could do that kind of miracle!
In John 11, v38 Jesus came to Lazarus tomb and Martha warned that the dead would be stinking, then He cried out
Lazarus come out, and he came out and they believed in him;
– a Miracle, without doubt. The Question I want to ask you today is “do you believe in miracles”? I am asking this question primarily of Church members, and surprising that that may seem to those of you who are not, I have come to a simple and sad conclusion in recent times that although many Church-going Christians believe in God, believe that their sins are forgiven, believe that they are on their way to Heaven and Home, they do not however believe in Miracles. I feel so often that I am living amongst and within an unbelieving church – who have by doctrine and design become Selective with Holy Scripture and Sectarian in its practice? Such Doctrines and Designs have rendered the Church powerless in the fight against Evil, and prayerless at the Throne of God. They are as the apostle James said …
“double minded in all their ways” and as such “they receive nothing from God; “let not the double minded think he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7) They gather to pray week by week, they will meet to praise God week by week, they will fellowship together and study the scriptures but from one end of the year to the other, they will see LITTLE or NO CHANGE, LITTLE or NO GROWTH, and LITTLE or NO FRUIT. Disappointment and discouragement will characterise their lives and they will be lacking in the joy of their salvation. Instead of being able to sing, “In my heart there rings a melody” it will appear that “in their heart there grows a lemon tree”.
There will be no song in their heart and no spring in their step, and no smile on their face. They will go dutifully and drudgingly to worship, and will keep an eye on the clock to ensure that the Preacher is not late and their Dinner is not burned? Their focus will be on self and not on others and they will be proud to call themselves Christian, but will have only the form of Godliness denying its power. Tragically, this is the truth, yet many of you don’t like that truth, and don‘t like me
for telling it?
Today in this Sermon which I have entitled “It’s a Miracle”
and is part ONE of a TWO part series on Miracles, I am hoping to help you to grasp the fact, that the one who DID miracles yesterday, is the same one who DOES miracles today; and that through you the Holy Spirit can move beyond the motivational gifts to the miraculous gifts, if you allow him. There are differing expressions of the gifts of the Holy Spirit
and through these gifts you may live more abundantly.
According to the word of God there are different miraculous expressions of the Holy Spirit which He imparts to you so that through you something supernatural happens – something
beyond the natural. These include the gift of Knowledge, a word of Wisdom, they include Tongues and Faith and Prophesy, and interpretation of tongues and discernment, and Healing and Miracles. Yet I can hear some of you disqualify yourself by saying “ME – working a miracle?” and the very idea is outrageous. That may be OK for the Pastor, the Minister or the Priest, the Evangelist or the Religious, or the tele-evangelist but not ME, and already you have ruled yourself out of the abundant exciting life which Jesus promised you in John 10:10.
The First Question I need to respond to is …
CAN MIRACLES ACTUALLY HAPPEN TODAY?
I know that most of you believe that Jesus did do miracles (past tense) but (present tense) does He still do them now? So we are going to have to find some place in the Bible that gives us that understanding … and such a place is Hebrews 13, and verse
8 where we can celebrate the fact that we are assured here that “Jesus is the same Yesterday Today and For Ever“. Jesus is not dead, he is alive, – that’s why we celebrate Easter! If Jesus was compassionate to the woman at the well yesterday, he will show compassion to you at the kitchen sink today. The agent for this activity is called a Miracle. Listen, I don’t do miracles, so don’t come to me and ask for one, I can only do the miraculous when I am connected to the Holy Spirit who flows through me, then the miraculous is possible. Its God – not man!
Of course Miracles can happen today, I know it, I live and walk in the miraculous – in the supernatural. Yet we have put God in a Man box, and we recon that if it’s hard for man to do then it must be hard for God to do. If it’s a head cold, then we can ask for a remedy for a cure, but if it’s a cancer, then that’s too big,
that‘s major… But does God not say ”is there anything too hard for me”? (Gen 18:14) Luke 1:37 says “nothing is impossible with God” Do you know, do you have any idea, any revelation of who God is? You and I are mere specks on this planet earth, and planet earth is only a speck in the greater universe beyond us. Those who have studied such things tell us that the nearest star is 93million miles away. The Pleiades is a constellation which we can see with the naked eye, it’s 400 light years away, 6 trillion miles away. And in all of this vast universe, James the apostle says we are like a “vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away“. (James 4:14) Like a puff of perfume from a scent bottle? Yet God holds us all and it all in His hand and you wonder if he can help you balance your cheque book, help your marriage work, help you get out of that mess you are in? Of course he can do a miracle if you’ll allow him. Get him out of the MAN box and put him back into his GOD box. Give God back the Power and Authority that is rightfully His, and then let your faith trust in HIM. The only disclaimer I can find is in Isaiah Chapter 55:v8 where we are reminded that “Our ways are not His, our thoughts not his; His ways, his plans, his purposes are always above ours, and higher that ours”
I heard a story recently about a business man who had made good in Saudi Arabia, and when he was leaving the country, his hosts asked him what he would like, as they customarily gave gifts of appreciation to those who had done well for them. So being a keen “golfer” he asked for a golf club, thinking about a nine iron. Several days later a great black car arrived outside his house to which he was invited to travel to see his Golf Club. They had actually bought him real estate, a Gold Club, with
Restaurant, Leisure facilities and an 18 hole course. Their thought were much higher than his thoughts, – and clearly God thinks like that. God always gives us the best, “exceedingly abundantly above what we can ask of think” Eph 3:20
Lazarus, was a Good friend to Jesus as was John the Baptist. Lazarus was lifted out of his prison that was his death tomb, while John was left in the prison, and literally lost his head for the cause of Christ. Before his death, John in confusion asks, “Are you really the one, or is there another Messiah” (Matt 11:3) John was not free and yet Jesus came to set the captives free? If he Can do it and he doesn’t do it, – if he could do it and he wouldn’t do it, does that not build our faith to dash our faith? WHY didn’t I see the miracle I believed for? you ask.
So the next question we need to ponder is …
WHY DON’T WE SEE MORE MIRACLES?
Turn if you will to 1 Cor 13. Here we’ll discover the reason why. (This is the Love Chapter) Lets begin reading at verse 8.
“Charity (LOVE) never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
Some confusion has entered the Church in the understanding of what is meant by the word Perfect? It is the failure to grasp the meaning and context of this one word that has created much confusion and heresy in the Church. So permit me to show you what I see in the original text. (Oh and incidentally, Doctrine and Dogma should never be founded on ONE Scripture, but we should formulate our Theology on the whole tenor of the Bible)
What is this PERFECT? – In the Church there is one group who call themselves “CEASATIONALISTS” They believe that the gifts and miraculous workings of Jesus and the Apostles have ceased. They hold that this “Apostolic Dispensation” was a period of infancy in the Church who where without the Word, without the revelation until the Apostles wrote it down in the various letters. They believe that the BIBLE is the “perfect”?
I used to be part of them, until I made a closer study of the word “Perfect” which Paul uses. More about this in a moment. Then there is another group which believe that the gifts continue just as they were in the early Church. They call themselves, as I do, CONTINUALISTS for the word Perfect in 1 Cor 13:10, is not talking about the Bible, – it is talking about the Lord Jesus, talking about his coming Rule. Then, at that time, there will obviously, (clearly) be no need for tongues, prophesies, miracles and so on. Jesus will once again be here amongst us reigning and ruling – we will be enjoying the “perfect” then. Jesus says this himself in Matt 5:48 “Be ye perfect even as I am perfect” and it’s the same Greek word Teleios which means Complete or Perfect Man.
So obviously if we are not living in expectation of miracles or the miraculous we will not see them. Faith expects and receives from God. Expect nothing and you’ll get nothing, expect a little and you may get a little, but if you expect great things then you will get great things – believe me I know!
Rev 10:v7 declares that we are now living in the mystery time.
I don’t have answers to why some die and some are healed, yet just because one dies, I should not give up on healing the sick – Jesus instructed us to do so regardless of the outcome.
However Paul also says that at this present time we “see through a glass darkly” 1 Cor 13v 12 The words mean “mystery” or “riddle” . We must factor this into our thinking, for God has his own plans and purposes, his own times and his own ways, but we do not stop or give up. One day I will see “face to face” and shall know the riddle, and the mystery.
I will fully know the things I don’t know today. Even my motivation will be cleaned up and will understand why God gave me the extraordinary ability to have fun in my days, laughter in my hours and joy in the depth of my soul.
When I discovered the miraculous I determined to “Go and change the world” in Jesus name. I see so many Christians living the substandard spiritual status-quo and God does not want it to be this way. God has an assignment on your life which he wants you to fulfil. Only you can do what he has put you here to do. If you are expecting someone else to do your job, your divine assignment, you are gravely mistaken. As the Hymn writer said: “There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do”. So make sure your destiny is Gods destiny for you – don‘t stubbornly walk in your own ways. Christian Service is not about doing things that last for the present time only, it is about doing what will last for eternity and about you feeding on the diet of the word and then going out to serve the Lord in the world that is yours. (Your neighbourhood, your apartment block, your street, your road, your town-land, your village, your town, your city.) As I said a few weeks ago, the miracle may be in your hands, in your mouth or in your wallet, but you must learn how to let that miracle go to change lives. God wants you to know that when you ask in faith you will receive, but you can never receive unless and until you expect to receive.
UNEXPECTANT PRAYER is another reason why we are not seeing miracles. We are not even praying the kind of prayers that expect God to show up. Some of you will sincerely and genuinely pray today that God will presence himself in your midst as you go out now to Church, this morning or this evening. But I suggest to you that if God DID show up, it would frighten the life out of you – and most of you would not understand or acknowledge that it was God. Again this is because you have not been taught to expect the supernatural and to believe for the miraculous, you have been short-changed!
Years ago while I was ministering in the Philippines, the blind could see, the deaf could hear, the lame could walk, miracles and signs were common at every service and some of those services lasted for six hours and the people were in no hurry for their dinner or their bed. There were days when the Churches was filled to overflowing and people congregated outside at the open windows to hear the Sermons, and I flowed and overflowed in the Holy Spirit. A Sea of tear stained faces crowded the pulpit every day and every night as men and women came to surrender themselves to Jesus Christ. When God is present, NO-ONE wants to leave, no one even thinks about going home. Doubt flies, Demons flee and Devils fear. “Lord give us this in Ireland too, … while on others thou art calling do not pass us by“!
But I have to ask, do you really want this kind of blessing and are you prepared to pay the price to get it?
Then if we do actually have the courage to believe God for a miracle, it is usually for ourselves. God does not approve of selfish praying, or selfish thinking, or selfish motivation, …
it is while seeking blessing and happiness for others that we
unconsciously find and discover it for ourselves. Or like a Christian who prayed “Lord I’ll go into the corner shop, get an Lottery ticket, and believe you for a Million, and I promise then Lord that I’ll start tithing” James calls us “Adulterers and Adulteresses” (James 4:4) and says that the only reason these are seeking God – is for themselves. How many of you would say that the only reason you are a Christian is because you do not want to go to Hell? That’s self centeredness! I’ll love you
Jesus because I don’t want to go to hell… but
that’s not to be the motivating factor.
Some of you are back to God because your business is going through “hard times” and you think that Church is the place you should be? Your hoping that come Monday, Receipts and Sales will be up? You’ll show up at Church for about 3 weeks and if God doesn’t turn your business around, – you’ll say “well I tried God”. Some others go to Church to find a boyfriend or a girlfriend. The clubs have proved unsuccessful and now you’re “trying” the Church. If God blesses you with a Man then you’ll stop going to the clubs and the pubs.
The tragedy is that many of you think this is all OK, and yet you wonder why we are not seeing the miraculous or the supernatural as we should? God is not present in any of that!
That’s the worship of idols, that is man worship, self worship
and God will have no part in it or of it. Always on the road to a miracle, you must first pass through maturity. God wants us to “grow up”… to see ourselves the way He sees us and to walk in the ways he has chosen for us. To set aside our “toys” the playthings of immaturity and to equip ourselves to take over the family business, – the Fathers Business. Do you remember
those “Childish” way of getting what you want?
Sometimes you cried, – turned on the tears so that sympathy would get you what you wanted, Sometimes you threatened. “I’ll hold my breath until I die” or you packed a bag and walked out! Only to discover that none of these things cut any ice with loving parents. God may allow many of us to spend a night in the “hog-pen” of the Prodigal, until we learn to do things the Fathers way.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD.
This is a huge subject and I’ll return to it (God Willing) again next week, but before I end today, let me share with you something that has blessed me and changed my life. Every morning in my quiet times with the Lord, I ask in prayer that I might be a “Blessing to someone today” and then I ask him to “Fill me with the Holy Spirit.” (Jesus said that God will surely fill those who ask for it) At Conversion, we received our forgiveness and are filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit. But the Bible in Ephesians 5:18 likens our filling to “drunkenness” which many of you will know is not lasting. You have got to get drunk every day to stay drunk … and you have got to be filled every day to stay “full” of the Holy Spirit. Then I wait on God to open a door of opportunity that I might be someone’s miracle that day? You see sometimes it is in wanting a miracle for someone else, that you’ll get one yourself? Yet, unless you are walking every day in the “fullness” of the Holy Spirit, you cannot function and flow in the miraculous or the supernatural.
Don’t you want to live more than ordinary, in the extraordinary
more than natural,- in the supernatural?
God Bless You … Amen.