Bible Ballistics: Vol. 7 No. 21 Looking To See A Miracle Or Be One???
We are living in a time when people claim to have the ability to demand of God a miracle, either for themselves or others. It’s a time when people are drawn by the allure of a “mystic” and/or “visible” display of the power of God. A time when we hear teachers and preachers who gain great followings from their promise to put on a “miracle” show—to ‘guarantee’ that they can bring healings of all kinds of diseases and problems. But is this an evidence and manifestation of the true Spirit of God, or something else? Are people seeking God and His presence or are they simply looking to demand and manipulate the power and/or presence of God to their own benefit or glory? Jesus addressed this seeking and pursuit of the “miraculous” and it may fly in the face of popular Christian culture and focus.
“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:38-40
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day wanted Him to “prove” that He was the Messiah. They wanted a “miraculous” sign to warrant their attention, recognition or acknowledgement of Jesus’ authority and the veracity/truth of what He was saying. They wanted to back Him into a corner and make demands on His agenda and His purpose. Jesus gave import to this issue by giving the same answer to the leaders when they made the same kind of demand a second time.
“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” Matthew 16:1-4
On this occasion Jesus rebuked them for not being able to “discern the signs of the times”. Then He once again says that “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign”—that our goal isn’t to go around “looking” for miracles to happen to prove “anything” about God. In contrast, when we are walking with God, we will see the miraculous nature of God in all of His work around us, beginning with the creation! The omnipresence of God can be experienced by His children at every turn, yet we are not to go around seeking the visibly “miraculous” to confirm or display His presence and work, that are ever active around us! We are to seek God and His kingdom first and foremost.
“Therefore take no thought, saying,
What shall we eat?
or, What shall we drink?
or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek🙂
for your heavenly Father knoweth
that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow:
for the morrow shall take thought
for the things of itself.
Sufficient unto the day
is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:31-34
We are not to seek after the things that the world (‘the Gentiles’) seeks after—the miraculous, the spectacular, the blitz and bling, which are all futile in and of themselves. Only God can give purpose and direction to our lives, and our goal is always to be seeking Him. But we often forget that Jesus also said that while we are seeking God, we are also to be seeking “his righteousness”—the righteousness of God! And there is only one way to seek the “righteousness” of God—and that is via HIS son. And it is always by faith—NOT by sight, miraculous or otherwise!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God,
who hath reconciled us
by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us
the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit,
that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world
not imputing their trespasses unto them;
and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,
as though God did beseech you by us:
we pray you in Christ’s stead,
be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us,
who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God
in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Our focus is to be the message of reconciliation ‘by Jesus Christ”, as Paul mentions in another scripture:
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31
We are to “glory in the Lord” Himself, not in the “tricks” that He can do!!! He isn’t a heavenly ‘genie’ to come at our beck and call, or when we rub the lamp—He is the sovereign, almighty God of the universe—HE IS GOD, and we are NOT!!! We are called to humble ourselves before God and one another—NOT to be dictators to God, as to when, where or how HE is to work in our midst!!!
“…….. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:5b-7
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:10
We should pursue an attitude of humility before God and others—if you would, we are to “BE” the miracle of God’s grace, love and transforming power before the world. Yet much of American Christendom today is seeking to put on a better “show” than the church down the road, trying to harness the power of God for their own glory and benefit—this is NOT biblical Christianity. Humility, devotion to the true grace of God, and a total dependence on God to do the saving IS our biblical responsibility before God. God is our total source in every thing and not our minion, whom we can instruct at our discretion. We are to be HIS servant NOT vice versa!!! (See Job 38, for an interesting perspective!)
“Abide in me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
except it abide in the vine;
no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine,
ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me,
and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
We are saved to be a reflection of God’s grace and glory before a lost and dying world. The Gospel is what Jesus Christ has done for us at the cross—His death, burial and resurrection for sin. He is the one who took our place—He gives us life for death, and we must be sure that we are bowing before Him, humbling ourselves before Him and not dictating to Him! We are to “BE” a miracle of grace to a world that needs Jesus, not by conforming to the world, but by yielding to the “righteousness” of God which conforms us into the image of Jesus. Not living in the “lusts of the flesh”, but for the glory of God The Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the precious Holy Spirit, whom Jesus has given to be with us through all of our life and journey as believers, through this world of sin and temptation. Being miracles of God rather than seeking after them (I’m talking about selfish demands, not legitimate requests for God’s intervention according to His Word, His Spirit and His Word).
We can live confident lives, committed to and focused on the total trustworthiness and sovereignty of our God. He never makes mistakes, and His will is to be our desire—not showmanship!!! Just as we saw in Matthew 6, we are to seek God first, and trust to His sovereign control in every aspect of our lives. Not seeking our will, but HIS!
“After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,
for ever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13
It is imperative that we keep our eyes on Jesus, knowing that He told us to seek God’s will NOT our own:
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done”
It requires determination and devotion to “seek” God and His kingdom, not simply His benefits, His works and/or His miracles. We must be willing to seek after “Thy kingdom” and “Thy will”, or we may fall for the allure of the world trying to make “OUR” will God’s, and expecting Him to “perform” when we demand—just as the religious leaders of Jesus’ time demanded a “sign” from Him to satisfy their selfishness. Or we can trust God to be doing HIS work, in our lives, in HIS time!
“And we know that
all things work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called
according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow,
he also did predestinate
to be conformed
to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn
among many brethren.” Romans 8:27-32
Are we willing to trust God with our life and do things HIS way, regardless of what results may or may not come of our efforts. Remember God called us to take the gospel to the world—NOT conforming ourselves or the message to accomplish results! We are called to take the gospel to the world—NOT to join them in their lusts.
“So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
9 For we are labourers
together with God:
ye are God’s husbandry,
ye are God’s building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder,
I have laid the foundation,
and another buildeth thereon.
But let every man take heed
how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay
than that is laid,
which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:7-11
There is only one foundation, only one way, and that is through the Gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for sin—only one way—only one message. That is what we are called to share, not the appeal of the world, or it’s methods. We are to preach “Christ and Him crucified”!!! Our lives are to be aligned with an attitude of humility and service to our Lord, NOT behaving as spiritual dictators (although we are to hold one another accountable to righteous living with love and compassion). We are servants of the Most High God, NOT His dictator!
“I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice,
acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove
what is that good,
will of God.
3 For I say,
through the grace given unto me,
to every man that is among you,
not to think of himself
than he ought to think;
but to think soberly,
according as God hath dealt
to every man
the measure of faith.” Romans 12:1-2
Paul’s urgent plea is that we be yielded to God in all things so that the world can see Christ in us. We are to “BE” the miracle of God’s grace before the world, not on a pursuit of the miraculous for our own benefit, or to “prove” anything for God or His Son Jesus! God never called us to “prove” His character but to display it! So will you join me in being committed to “BE” a miracle of God’s work of righteousness? Don’t get caught up in the “bling” of the worldly, false teachers and preachers who call others to follow them and “seek” the miraculous—for whatever reason. It’s our calling. May we not seek “proof” but “BE” the proof of God’s redeeming, transforming power before the world. Or you can join the “wicked and adulterous” generation seeking for a sign, the sign that Jesus accomplished in His death, burial and resurrection? And that is the only “sign” that Jesus promised the wicked that they would see! And it’s the sign that the world rejected and keeps on rejecting.
So let’s proclaim and live the truth of Jesus—the miracle of salvation. Jesus is there for you!
“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:17-18
Jesus’ miracle of salvation can transform any one into His miracle of grace. Look up, trust to His grace and then press on—focusing on Jesus Himself, not on just His awesome power. HE IS THE MIRACLE!
“God, who at sundry times
and in divers manners
spake in time past
unto the fathers
by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days
spoken unto us
by his Son,
whom he hath appointed heir of all things,
by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory,
and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things
by the word of his power,
when he had by himself purged our sins,
on the right hand
of the Majesty on high:” Hebrews 1:1-3
The greatest miracle of all is salvation. Is that sufficient for you? His salvation alone is sufficient for “abundant life” and “godliness”! The world seeing the miracle of Jesus IN us, and coming to know Him in all His fullness—no compromise or worldliness required!
“,Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
And the light IS Jesus—not joining the world and trying to bring them to light—but us “Being” light in the dark place, not joining the dark to tell them about the light. The light of God’s righteousness is what the world needs—not false wonders! We don’t have to walk in the “dark” to witness of the “light”!
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12
Blessings on your week! Be that miracle of grace!!!