Summary: A sermon on explanations for modern day miracles (Material taken from Dr. Jack Cottrell's book called, "Holy Spirit: A Biblical Study, chapter 10; Dr. Jack Cottrell's book called, "Power From On High", chapter 11; John F. MacArthur's book called "Charism
A. Alvin Slaughter- I’m convinced more now than ever That we don’t serve a god of the mundane But God of the supernatural You see, when we worship him in faith He will always meet us at the point of our needs Dry, fleshly worship is not enough Get ready, get ready to be completely drenched and covered by the power of the spirit For He alone is our peace God is all the power we need The power to make new, He has the power to save So today as we worship Him, I pray the power of God will fill your life to overflow with the latter rain. It’s the latter rain, It’s the latter rain
How do we account for the fact that the miraculous gifts especially the gift of tongues were absent from Christians from the end of the first century until more modern times? one given.
Read Joel 2:20-32
D. Some go to the book of Joel and spiritualize the former rain and latter rain (KJV) as found in Joel 2:23 just a few verses before the section Peter quotes as fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.
Former rain is the HS at Pentecost. Latter rain is the HS being poured out today as people are able to do what was done on and after the Day of Pentecost as seen in Acts.
we do not have proof that this verse is talking about the NT age because Peter nor the NT makes any reference to this verse as being fulfilled in NT age.
Sometimes there will be reports of a revival going on in a certain place and then along with that reports of massive harvests of crops. “Look this is a fulfillment of Joel 2 and latter rains”
In this context Joel is saying that God is going to make up for the food that the locust ate up. Joel is about a plague of locusts which was consuming Judah and how to understand this tragedy. Simply put, In biblical context, the former rains refers to the autumn rains and the latter rains refers to the spring rains as seen in the NIV. No need to spiritualize this.
Joel and the HS use this fact of the locust plague to talk about the future Day of the Lord. Joel is a typical OT prophet in that this is used as an object lesson of something far off in future.
To say that the former rain is the outpouring of the HS on the Day of Pentecost and that the latter rain is the outpouring of the HS in our day as seen in Pentecostal and charismatic circles is speculation. John MacArthur says this: The “former and latter rain,” have nothing to do with Pentecost, the twentieth century, or the HS.
I like what Thomas Edgar says about this: There is no biblical evidence that there will be a reoccurrence in the church of the sign gifts or that believers will work miracles near the end of the church age. However, there is ample evidence that near the end of the age there will be false prophets who perform miracles, prophesy, and cast out demons in Jesus’ name.
Regardless of what we believe, we cannot ignore the abundant testimony claiming that miraculous events are occurring today. The amount of testimonies are overwhelming.
Most commonly there are tongues. Two kinds of tongues are reported. One they call a heavenly language. It is a rapid utterance of non-decipherable strings of syllables. The other is the speaking of unlearned foreign languages and in some cases have been verified as true.
Many reports of sick people being healed and even reports of people being raised from dead.
Gifts of supernatural knowledge and prophecy have been reported. One preacher regularly revealed what someone in the audience was struggling with, and he was always right.
Some have long practiced snakehandling, been bitten and have had no ill effects.
A popular practice in some circles is “slaying in the Spirit,”- causing someone to lose consciousness and to collapse through a mere gesture or suggestion.
A church in Toronto made news by claiming that in their services God was turning ordinary dental fillings into gold and causing people to be able to see out of glass eyes.
Thesis: What are some explanations for modern day miracles?
Natural Explanations- not supernatural, explained by natural processes
Psychosomatic healing- a physical ailment is the result of some kind of mental trauma.
Tongues speaking also can be explained psychologically. Kurt Koch reports that one person was told to repeat a short prayer, such as “Lord help me,” 500 to 800 times a day. “Then your tongue and consciousness will get used to it and suddenly you will speak in ‘tongues.’” Koch comments, “HS does not need repetitive exercises or any training of the subconsciousness.”