Church of Christ
at
Locks Cross Roads
Miracles
Presented to us by Brother Joe Olson on July 11th, 2010.

The fundamental conflict, in which Christianity is engaged today, is in the intellectual sphere, is between Naturalism
and Supernaturalism.  Beneath all the attacks of scientists and philosophers, scholars and theologians upon
Christianity lies and undercurrent of naturalism, more or less concealed.

Miracles, as phenomena in historic Christianity, have posed no small problem to every age of the church's
existence.  Any search in the early years of the Christian religion will reveal the intense conviction that the
supernatural intervention into human history which we call "miracle" really occurred.

A miracle is an event occurring in the natural world, observed by the senses, produced by divine power, without an
adequate human or natural cause, the purpose of which is to reveal the will of God and do good to man.

It is more than simply deciding whether He fed the 5000, healed the blind, cast out demons, and raised people from
the dead.  It is deciding whether there is a Christ at all.

If the resurrection of Jesus was not a reality, all the other miracles would be valueless even if real and all effort to
establish their reality would be foolish.

It is an amazing thought to me that we can fantasize about future people doing miraculous things like curing
diseases, transporting us to other solar systems, etc., but cannot accept that people did it in the past.

There are three basic types of miracles:

POWER OVER NATURE:
At a wedding feast Jesus turned water into wine.  Seeing His disciples distressed in rowing against a stormy lake,
Jesus walked across the lake to them, defying gravity.  On another occasion Jesus spoke the word and the sea
immediately became calm.  One morning at breakfast time He cursed a fig tree and it withered.  By supernatural
knowledge He informed Peter that in the mouth of the first fish would be tribute money.

POWER OVER DISEASE AND DEMONS:
Paralytics, impotent men, women with hemorrhages, sight to blind men, hearing to deaf and speech to dumb, lepers,
withered limbs restored to normalcy.  No weeks or day of anxious waiting, no returns, no incurable cases when
Jesus healed a body.

POWER OVER DEATH:
Death in others was no problem to Jesus.  He stopped a funeral procession to raise the widow's son; He broke up
the funeral to raise Jairus' daughter.  He walked nearly 40 miles to raise Lazarus from the grave.  Death in Himself
was nothing to fear for He calmly predicted His own death and resurrection with regularity.  "Therefore doth the
Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.  No one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down
of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:17-18).  Many passages could be
cited in which Jesus foretold the various aspects of His passion.

Miracles are supernatural phenomena in the realm of human experience with a message.  Why bring up miracles if
the one doing them does not have something to say for himself?

Probably the most significant utterance of Jesus every recorded - "All things have been delivered unto me of my
Father:  and no one knoweth who the Son is, save the Father; and who the Father is, save the Son, and he to
whomsoever the God willeth to reveal to him," (Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22) was His claim to unique knowledge of
God.

"For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.  And this is the will of Him
that sent me, that of all that which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.  For
this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on Him, should have eternal life;
and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:38-40).

"My teaching is not mine, but His that sent me.  If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching,
whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself "(John 7:16-17).  "I speak the things which I have seen with my
Father" (John 8:38).

"But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I heard from God. . .  If God were your Father,
ye would love me:  for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but He sent me. . . But
because I say the truth, ye believe me not.  Which of you convicteth me of sin?  If I say truth, why do ye not believe
me?  He that is of God heareth the words of God" (John 8:40-47).

Throughout His teaching Jesus is claiming to be a very revelation of God.  He comes not as a supreme teacher of
an exalted ethical system or a new moral philosophy but as one who comes from God to reveal God's mind to man.  
In other messages Jesus asserted that He entered the world to "seek and save the lost" (Luke 19:10) and "to give
His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).  It is clear that Jesus intended to reveal God and ransom man, but how
do we know He is sent from God?  His "mighty works" proves what He said.  What is the connection between miracle
and message?

It is the miracle, the departure from the observed uniformity of nature that gets the attention of man and makes him
realize that a higher person and a higher power is at work.  The miracle is the majestic seal that God has affixed to
the revelation which He gives us.  The Bible is God's Word.

Miracles authenticate the Christian message.   Jesus Christ appeals to His miracles as His divine authentication.  "I
told you, and ye believe not:  the works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me. . . If I do not the
works of my Father, believe me not.  But if I do them, though ye believe not me, believe the works:  that ye may
know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father" (John 10:25 and 37-38).

"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and Father in me?  The words that I say unto you I speak not from
myself:  but the Father abiding in me doeth His works.  Believe me that I am in the Father, and Father in me:  or else
believe me for the very works' sake" (John 14:10-11).

What was true of the Lord in those days was true in regard to His servants the apostles.  The miracles also attested
their message as from God.  It was the miracles that made the disciples believe in Jesus, and they, in turn, made the
world believe in Christ.

Miracles are not universal in nature.  If they were they would lose their value as deeds of a supernatural character .
. . for if universal, they would cease calling attention to God's message and become the norm.  Bible miracles were
never universal.

No matter how strong the evidence may be that the supernatural has occurred, since scholars start with the premise
that the supernatural can't occur, all evidence for its occurrence is ruled out of court without examination.  Now I
submit that even from a scientific point of view such a procedure is unwarranted.  Questions of fact are not to be
decided by any
a priori principle laid down by any scientists, however smart they may be!  If facts and principles are
at odds, so much the worse for the principles!  The only thing we must be sure of is our facts.  Facts are decided by
evidence.

So, we must depend upon witnesses.  The force of human testimony depends on three things:  first, the honesty of
the witnesses; second, their competency; and third, their number.

JESUS CLAIMED TO WORK MIRACLES

Jesus answered the disciples of John the Baptist: "Go and tell John the things which ye have seen and heard; the
blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the
poor have good tidings preached to them" (Luke 19:22).

Earlier Jesus had said to the Jews:  "But the witness which I have is greater that of John; for the works which the
Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.  And
the Father that sent me, He hath borne witness of me.  Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His
form.  And ye have not His word abiding in you:  for whom He sent, Him ye believe not.  Ye search the scriptures
because ye think that in them ye have eternal life:  and these are they which bear witness of me" (John 5:36-38).

"Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me:  or else believe me for the very works' sake" (John 14:11).
 How can we believe in Jesus if we do not accept His own testimony that He worked miracles?
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