Summary: This sermon will present four reasons as to why we don't experience or see many miracles today.
“A CRUMB FROM THE MASTER’S TABLE”
Acts 12:1-9, NIV
For the Live Sermon go to: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
There are so many promises in the Bible that we as Christians can ask for and will receive miracles in our lives. Jesus says “anything you ask in my name I will do” (John 14:14) or “if two of you agree on anything on earth God the Father will grant it” (Matthew 18:19). In John 14:21 it states that if you wrote down every miracle Jesus Christ ever did then the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written (John 21:24). Then in John 14:12 Jesus tells us we will do greater miracles that Jesus ever did! The point is that we have empowered to perform miracles in the name of Jesus Christ. That being said, why don’t we see more miracles today? We have all received bad news that a loved one was dying from and incurable disease. In response, we got on our hands and knees and prayed fervently for a miracle. When one did not happen we were left wondering why. From examining the story of Peter’s miraculous release from prison we are going to find that four things must be present for a miracle to happen:
First, like the Pharisees we need to clean the inside of the cup (Matthew 23:26) so that our Master might hear our prayer requests. Living with one foot in God’s kingdom with the other firmly grounded in the desires of human nature, will not lead to righteousness. Jesus commands all of our allegiance (Romans 10:9).
Second, pray to God to reveal His will. We cannot view God as a genie in the bottle. Like the Pharisees we simply cannot play the pipe or shed the tear and demand (Luke 7:28) the potter to mold the clay to our desires! It is not that faith or fervor is not important but simply that it cannot be used as a “stick” to force God into our mold. When Jesus says “anything you ask in my name I will do” (John 14:14) or “if two of you agree on anything on earth God the Father will grant it” (Matthew 18:19); this does not make Jesus a genie in the bottle! God is sovereign!
Third, remember have faith that even the DOGS get crumbs from God’s table! God loves you and sees you as infinitely valuable to Him.
Fourth, when God gives you a miracle be like the servant in this story and rejoice fervently for God is good!
Ambivalence or Two-Faced
Matthew 6:22 describes the eye as a “lamp unto the body.” If the eyes are healthy the whole body will be filled with light. The eye’s beauty radiates from its incredibly complicated dimensions. Look at someone's eyes and you will see one layer upon another woven together to form a sophisticated collection of colors, contours and light reflections. As is the eye complicated so is the soul in which it is a lamp. Since every person has been given free will from God, contained within our soul is the innate ability to either do good or evil. Our desire to do evil comes from our human nature that is pleasure seeking. Our desire to do good comes from the influence of the Holy Spirit who wants us to do the will of God the Father in heaven. Since the desires of the human nature are contrary to the desires of the Holy Spirit, there is a war going on inside of each and everyone of us (Galatians 5:17). Our souls are often complicated because we hold onto conflicting beliefs at the exact same time. For example, hopefully you believe it is wrong to commit adultery but at the same time might be ok with flirting. Or, you might believe it is wrong to lie but at the same time are ok with “stretching the truth” if it means not hurting someone else’s feelings.
Peter’s miraculous escape from prison is filled with this kind of ambivalence. Ambivalence is a word that means either “two-faced” or “hypocrite.” The characters in the story are complicated to show that at anytime we can give different responses to God when He breaks into our world and performs miracles. I will begin the sermon by describing how King Herod and the Jewish people chose to persecute those who believed in Jesus Christ. Faced with an impossible situation, Peter’s imprisonment and scheduled execution, the church responds by prayer. God answers their prayers by sending an angel who frees Peter. I will finish the sermon by outlining how complicated we truly are by stating three different responses to Peter’s miracle: acceptance after proof, blind faith and outright disbelief. It is precisely this war of both good and evil, holding onto conflicting beliefs, that keeps us Christians from seeing how gracious to us.