253 It’s a Miracle Part Two
I return today to the subject of Miracles in this two part Sermon entitled It’s a Miracle which asks the question – “do you believe in Miracles?” As I said last time, Miracles do not come at the supermarket in a Bottle or in a Packet marked MIRACLE! There are some amazing products available these days, but “miracles” they most certainly are not. Miracles are the territory of God Almighty, and they cannot ever become a part of your life or mine, unless and until you believe in them, and expect them! Remember that even Jesus himself could do no miracles, (no mighty works) in his own town and amongst his own people, because of their corporate unbelief. (Matt 13:58)
A while ago, I was asked to go pray with a Church minister who was recovering from Heart Surgery. He was alone when I arrived and he let me in and we sat for a while and chatted in the living room. Like me, he was eager for a healing touch from God and urgently sought prayer. God was tangibly present with us as we fellowshipped together and I was ready to pray with him, and lay my hands on him, confident in God that a miracle was about to happen, when suddenly the door opened and a member of the family came in from a shopping trip. Immediately I felt the spirit of Faith withdraw, so that now I didn‘t even want to pray with him. This person made some remark about visitors making him tired and after a short prayer I left. That day he received no miracle and actually went
home to be with the Lord a short time later.
From that day to this , I have insisted that all “unbelieving souls” are absent when I or Church Elders go to pray with the sick. Unbelief must be cast out, which is why on many occasions
before Jesus wrought any miracle, he put them all out save
his disciples. Jesus never told anyone that they were not healed because they did not have enough faith. Yet it is clear that “corporate unbelief” can affect the miraculous. If you are surrounded by unbelieving negative friends, they can keep
you from your miracle. Sometimes you’ll need to
“put them all out”!
I want to return today to look at what the Bible says about Miracles and about Healing in particular. I want to show you what God has on his table that you can enjoy. I would never take you to a fine restaurant and then list the things that you could not order. Everything on Gods menu is available, you can take what you have the faith to take. So we’ll begin now as we look at that Instruction in James Chapter Five verses 14 &15;
Where he says “Is any sick among you? 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: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up;”
What did we just read?…. If any of you are sick, you are to call up the Elders of the Church and ask them to anoint you with oil and pray for you and their Faith prayer will raise you up?
That’s what God says you are to do, but will you do it? NO, Let me tell you what you will do, You will wait until things get worse, then you’ll go to your GP, make an appointment, wait a few days or maybe a week, then you’ll get to the Pharmacy and bring home a trailer load of pills and live off of them for a while until their side effects kick in and you’ll end up in hospital needing surgery and more often than not the cure turned out to be worse than the disease, when God has said: I’ll give you a miracle, but you doubt Gods word.
(and then we wonder why our Churches are empty and our Hospitals are full- it’s staring us in the face!)
Let me say this in the most loving way that I can. The “model” in your mind is broken. The mind-set of many of our Church -going folk is worldly and not heavenly. Most, will and still do it the worlds way, and not Gods way. When you are sick, really sick, you are supposed to call your Church, or at the very least call up your Christian friends.
Give the Doctor a rest. God has a miracle for you, believe it and ask HIM! Is it any wonder the Scriptures say: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6
The Devil is destroying the people of God every day, and they don’t know it, or won’t know it. You are supposed to be walking in Life Eternal and Life Abundant, under an unclouded heavenly sky, happy and healthy, and holy:
But the Devil, who came to steal, kill and destroy has got you
on the run from him and is making your life HELL right now.
I used to warn my students:
If Satan won’t get you in Hell for eternity, He’ll try to keep you in Hell for time.
The purpose of the Elders is to also help you “confess your faults one to another” – because sometime there can be things in the natural, in the emotions or the psyche that are connected to the physical. (These we call psychosomatic – the psyche, the mind, the soma, the body) There can be bitterness or unforgivingness or anger, or jealousy that needs to be removed – for the healing to flow, and when there are several laying hands on you, then there is no one individual who can get the glory – but God alone!
Sometimes God does give the “gift of healing” for specific reasons to one, but the gifts are always shared, manifest within His Church. We don’t need powerful men, as much as we need the omnipotent God. Jesus never told his disciples to pray for the sick, he told them to “heal the sick” that was his command!
We need God Filled – Spirit filled Men and Women!
Then I am sometimes asked the Question WHEN SHOULD I EXPECT A MIRACLE? The answer is simple …. When you Pray for one! Start praying for a miracle. I wish you could learn how to pray for the impossible. God is in the business of doing the Impossible. You need not ask God to do something that you can do for yourself. Ask God to do what you cannot do, and what others cannot do, what you know only He can do. So often we just lack persistent faith. Look with me for a moment at a short story in Luke Gospel in Chapter 18, a story which points, and focuses on faith, this is sometime missed or misunderstood.
Luke 18:v2 …“There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily“.
This woman came every day, and if that Judge gave her
what she wanted how much more will God give to his children what they want. Here’s a widow woman who is pressing hard a heathen Judge and she gets what she wants, yet often we in the Church get so cold in our relationship with our Heavenly Father that we give up and let go of faith. This is what moves Jesus to ask a remarkable question in the next verse, v8 “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” This parable is not about persistency in Prayer, we are not meant to keep on asking over and over for the same things; this story is about persistency in Faith, – about the kind of faith that does not give up or give in to what it sees in life’s circumstances.
We have become so used to doing things the same old way?
My assignment I believe is to wake up the Church to a fresh understanding of the Heart of God. Our theologies and traditions have blinded our eyes to seeing the true heart of God for the hurting world around us. The story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 is a classic example of the heart that God has for us all. This woman was not a Jew, she was an outsider, and Jesus had no compulsion to stop in his tracks to help her, as the scriptures show us. In fact he refers to her as a “dog”(v26) But she confronts his heart and his head (his reasoning) with the words “do not the dogs deserve the crumbs that fall from the table”?
In other words she was asking only for what she believed was
“on the table”. Many Preachers today are inviting the world into the Church yet at the same time denying them
ALL that is on Gods Table. What a tragedy!
I am aiming to help to open your eyes to see what is on that table, and to encourage you that it is all there for you.
You’ll never get what you cannot see, and you cannot hope for something until you can see it, imagine it, … but if you can see it, you can have it. Its time for a miracle of Change in all of our Churches. One of the greatest changes we need is to get “together” and that’s a miracle – something only God can do? Yes pray for a Miracle, and pray for a miracle when
there is a need that requires it!
At your next Church Prayer meeting, at your next Church Service Pray for a Miracle in your Church, pray for the miracle of change. Pray for the tepid, traditional, luke warm religion to be emptied out and the fire of the Holy Spirit to fall and fill. If ever there was a time and a need for miracles, -today’s the day.
Remember in Luke 4:4 that Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread, …“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God“. Satan was wanting him to play the “miracle game” but Jesus was saying there is no need today for a miracle. So ask for a miracle when there is a need for one. God is not for SHOW, he doesn’t do “shows”. He is the Lord God almighty, and when I want a miracle from him, I have to remind myself who I am and what are his purposes for my life. But the beauty of it all is that I don’t demand, instead I acknowledge that I am an ordinary man who wants to walk in extraordinary things for God. God is in the business of using men and women who make themselves available to him to do these extraordinary things. Its not about me the Preacher having the power for miracles – NO! Its about you, recognising that these gifts and graces are yours, given to the Church, your Church if you’ll believe it and receive it.
Could God give “your anointing” to someone else simply because you are “not available”?
Tomorrow when you are at work and someone complains about a bad back, then lay your hands on them by faith and expect their miracle. If it doesn’t happen the first time, don’t give up, keep seeing it, keep saying it, hold on until you get that miracle – remember the widow and the judge. Just like we fight with the devil’s deceptions every day for our Salvation, (He tries to steal from us) we have to put up a fight for our healings and our miracles too. I have discovered that most people (even the un-churched people) welcome my offer to pray for them … try it and you’ll see for yourself. Such prompting from the Holy Spirit within us, to show love and care for the hurting (more often than not) results in a miracle. This is why I can say that I live in the supernatural and function or flow in the miraculous. If God can do it for me, he can do it for you – as long as you keep walking in the power, the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Remember too, that the miracle must be appropriate to the need at that time. Speaking in tongues is a miracle, and when we are full of the Holy Spirit we may speak in tongues whenever we like – but we should not if it’s inappropriate?
e.g. If I’m standing in line at the super-market check out and waiting to pay for a purchase, it may not be altogether appropriate to speak in heavens language there? This is why it is so important to wait on the prompting of the Holy Spirit, for He knows when its Most Appropriate, and then you can be sure of the miraculous.
Sometimes that prompting may be via a word of Discernment, Knowledge or Wisdom when you are given to know
something you could not otherwise have known. The great Preacher – Charles Hadden Spurgeon tells of how during the preaching of a sermon, he saw a young man below him in the crowded church and he said to him “young man those leather gloves you have on were stolen you need to return them to your employer” … and the man suddenly bursts into tears knowing that his sin has been found out. An appropriate miracle for an appropriate moment. Some of you Fathers would welcome a “word of Knowledge” when your
daughter brings home her first date?
Now you may be asking, “can God really do this kind of thing?” Let me tell you God does this stuff, he delights to interact with his children as any Father would. Glory to his matchless name. We read earlier today in 2 Kings chapter 6 that the King of Syria attempting to attack Israel moved his army from one spot to another and every time he tried to do so, God told the prophet Elisha where they were long before they got there. They think there is a traitor in the ranks, but forget there is a prophet. Study it again for yourself.
(2 Kings Ch.6)
What a great God we serve… Words of Knowledge are amazing when God speaks them to you. Especially when people try to hurt you anonymously, not knowing that God can make the whole thing as clear as daylight to you.
You know that you cannot hide from God, but do you know that there are those who walk in the Spirit with God every day, and you dare not try to hide things from them either. Full of the Holy Spirit, you can know all things that affect your well-being, your safety, your day and your way.
When you walk in the Spirit you walk in “light” not in darkness? You can see things in the light that others cannot see in their darkness. Some of you won’t believe the things I can see. A Word of Knowledge is a Miracle, so too is a word of Wisdom. This is when you will open your mouth to say something and you yourself marvel at the wisdom of the words you just spoke.
So profoundly perfect that everyone knows it had to be God, because everyone knows you’re not that wise, that smart!
God often gives me words of Wisdom as I write these sermons,
and I know it had to be from God, I am certainly not that smart!
In I Kings 3:20-27 we have the story of two women who both gave birth, but as they slept, one of them lay on her baby and killed it. She awoke in the morning and noticed that her baby was dead, so she swapped it with her neighbours living baby. When the second woman awoke and found a dead baby in her bed, she knew this was not her baby, So the case went before Solomon the King, (the wisest man who ever lived) who ordered that the living child be cut in two and that each half be given to the two women. Not prepared for this butchery of her child. its true Mother willingly surrendered her rights and gave up the child to the other. Then Solomon knew, as did the whole Court, who the real mother was, – the woman with a heart for the life of her child. What incredible wisdom. The Bible says that all the Land regarded Solomon’s wisdom as from God – it’s a God thing. This is why I pray for a few more WISE men and women to be sitting up at Stormont and up at City Hall.
Daniel the prophet went from being a teen to being the Prime Minister because he was operating under the anointing of the
Holy Spirit in all of these gifts, in the gifts of wisdom and knowledge and under the favour of God. He had prophetic dreams and prophetic utterances, and if I could do what Daniel could do, I would give you all a miracle, but its not only about me functioning in the Holy Spirit, it is about US functioning in the Holy Spirit, These things are not just for the man in the Pulpit, they are also for the man or woman in the pew. Praise God. But I must say it again, that they can never be yours unless you believe in them, and unless and until you want them. Plus, it should go without saying (as I did in my Christmas Day Homily) that they all come in connection, tied to Jesus. – God has with HIM, freely given us all things. 1 Cor 2:12 Its not MY turn, its YOUR turn, its OUR turn. Jesus Christ died for to give us all a life
NOW THIS FINAL WORD.
Do you know that you are part of a MIRACLE right now? Let me explain. Years ago, as a boy of seven I climbed up into a tree on my way home from school, and preached a childish excuse for a sermon to the sheep – while at the same time asking God for a miracle… “Lord, one day, make the sheep far away hear me as well as the sheep nearby”
Today I’ve gotten that miracle. I recon there’s a few near this Scarva Road Studio, and Hundreds in Banbridge who are listening, and if you are listening on line, you can see more than Seven Thousand hits on the Sanctuary web page – and I know that throughout Ulster, and in England, in Scotland, in the Irish Republic and around the world as far away as Japan, there are sheep (Gods flock) listening right
now. It’s the miracle of radio, and I got it!
Lay hold of God by faith today, and like Jacob did at Peniel say:
“I will not let you go except you bless me” Gen: 32:26
Then expect to see Miracles in your life every day.
God Bless you.