Summary: A message on the spiritual gift of miracles (3 of 4)
THE GIFT OF MIRACLES
INTRO: You may have heard the story about a mule named Old Red. One day a visitor at the farm watched as the farmer hitched Old Red to the plow and hollered, “Giddy-up!” But Old Red didn’t move a muscle. Again the farmer hollered, but still the mule didn’t move.
After this had gone on a few minutes, the farmer reached over and picked up a two-by-four. He walked up in front of Old Red and hit the mule right between the eyes as hard as he could. Old Red’s knees buckled momentarily but then the mule started forward. The visitor hollered: “That’s awful! You could have killed that mule!” The farmer replied, “Naw, its just that sometimes you have to get Old Red’s attention!”
I. A GOOD DEFINITION.
The word translated miracles literally means workings of power. A miracle is an event beyond the power of known physical or human limits. A model railroad can demonstrate how this works. The little train will chug along under its own power but occasionally it jumps the track. Then the operator will step in to right the situation. Occasionally God steps into our world also.
It’s important to note the context of miracles in the Bible. They usually occur when God wants to get our attention. God had to establish in Pharaoh’s and Israel’s eyes the right of Moses to speak, and the result was miracles. In another age when religion was almost dead, God worked great miracles through Elijah and Elisha.
At Bethlehem and through Jesus’ ministry, God was saying to the world. “Hey, I’m alive!” After the ascension the apostles did great works, and it was as if God was saying, “Hey, I’m still alive and with you!” In Paul’s ministry to the Gentile world that didn’t know Jesus, God was saying., “Hey, world, my name is Jesus and I died for you!”
II. A GOOD EXAMPLE.
The many signs and wonders of Jesus catapulted Him into the public eye so that people had to make a decision about Him. It was as though God was saying: “Hey, world, guess who’s back? The God of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha!”
III. GOOD USE OF THE GIFT.
It is obvious to us that this gift is rare today; yet Paul, a very practical theologian, included it in the list of gifts. We’d love to see it more often, but we must remember two things:
1. Miracles do not guarantee faith (Pharaoh never believed).
2. Miracles appeal to the eyes rather that to the will.
Like the twelve; we wouldn’t really be better disciples if we saw more.
CONC: What are the marks of those with this gift? They want a skeptical world to see God at work. They want people’s attention for the gospel’s sake. They want to see God’s work authenticated. They are willing to go out on a limb with God. They are extremely interested in missions and evangelism. Miracles have usually occurred on the frontiers of the gospel.