Have you ever attempted to grasp the levity of what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 9:5~Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? (NIV) Well, which do you think is easier? When Jesus Christ is proclaimed and a heart accepts Him as Lord and Savior the greatest miracle has taken place. A shift, a transfer of address from hell to heaven. Now faith in Christ does not come through miracles. According to Romans 10:17~So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (ESV) When Jesus tells Nicodemus God so loves the world, He was giving him the Word, so faith could grow from the conversation they were hearing, as Christ spoke life and truth. 

We often forget the power of the Gospel. Romans 1:16~For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…(NIV) So, what produces faith that results in the miracle of salvation, as well as a new and changed life, and an eternal address change? Faith that results in salvation doesn’t come through miracles or mystical experiences. It comes by hearing and receiving the Word of Christ, the good news of salvation in Jesus. 

I love miracles, we have seen them with our own eyes. My aunt Lynette was bedridden and in a wheelchair and would dance under the power of the Holy Spirit and walk home, only to return to her bed. My brother’s stomach split open and what looked like a rotten banana fell out and he had no more cancer. In Grand Turk, we prayed for a woman with cancer and she vomited up this green nastiness and when she went back to the doctor, she had not one marker for cancer. Not to mention the life in Olivia’s thumb, or all the people God has healed through your prayers. And I would be remiss not to mention the two ladies how got my mom up off her pew and walked her around the church when they were telling he that she had pancreatic cancer. God spoke to her and the pastor told her she was healed. That next week the doctor confirmed it!

However, miracles are not as convincing as God’s living, powerful, holy Word Hebrews 4:12~For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (ESV) Jesus makes this clear in His parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man dies and goes to Hades and is in torment. He begs Father Abe to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn his 5 brothers so they will not end up in the same place of torment. Abe tells him they already have Ole Mo and Prophets but won’t listen (Luke 16:19-30) 

The rich man replies that is not enough! Luke 16:31~He said to him, If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead. (ESV) Today, Jesus’ followers may not calm storms, walk on water, or raise the dead. However, we do greater and more permanent works than performing a few miracles. We help transform lives by learning to walk empowered by God’s Holy Spirit. 

Today, it’s time to proclaim Christ to the captives. Saint of God our nation, our world needs Jesus more than ever. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV) As you head out into the wide world about you, why not become an integral part of the greater works of Jesus? Go share your faith in God. Share the good news of Jesus Christ with someone today.

Greater than

As with all Spiritual Gifts, Jesus is our ultimate example. He performed all kinds of miracles. However, only the feeding 5,000 men, not even counting women and children, with five loaves and two fish, is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:35-44; Luke 9:10 -17; John 6:1-14) Jesus spoke to the weather and changed the climate of every moment. (Luke 8:22-25) He even raised the dead. (John 11:43-45) 

The question is not whether or not Jesus performed miracles, but why He did so. Nothing explains why better than when a Pharisee named Nicodemus came knocking at night. (John 3, 7:50-51) He believes Jesus is a teacher from God and is to inquiring about eternal life. (John 3:12b) John 3:2~This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him. (ESV)

Understand the moment. When Nicodemus comes to Jesus this is what precipitates John 3:16. Like Nicodemus when we come to Jesus seeking a sign often we are met by words of life. What are you going to do when you witness the miracle Jesus desires to perform in your life? He gives us everything we need. Yet, we, in our humanity, still seek a sign. Grasp that Jesus’ miracles were always performed to cause people to believe in Him, the only Son of God who can take away the sins of the world. (John 1:29, 36)

Do you remember the greatest miracle of our great God who does not change? (Malachi 3:6) Though God never changes, His methods do. God will always be a miracle-working God who works through His people. On the night before Jesus is crucified, after 3 years of doing all kinds of miracles, He tells His disciples in John 14:12~Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do because I am going to the Father. (ESV) Jesus said I’m not leaving you weak and anemic, then what happened to the power? What greater works is Jesus talking about? 

Nowhere in the Bible do we find the apostles performing miracles that surpass those of Jesus, except in one area. It occurs on the day of Pentecost when Pete preaches his first sermon, and the results are in. Acts 2:41~So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (ESV) Do you want to know what is greater? Jesus said salvation is greater. That salvation is the greater miracle. So, what did Jesus tell us to do as Matthew ends his Gospel? Go make disciples, lead people to Jesus, teach people about Jesus, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. 

By the time all the apostles died, the Gospel was thriving throughout the Roman Empire. Churches were established in its most famous cities: Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, and Colossae. However, Jesus’ earthly ministry never extended beyond the Holy Land. Do you remember the progression of the work of the Gospel? Acts 1:8~But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (NIV) 

The Acts of the Apostles is the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy about greater works. So, let me ask you, how will you help Jesus take the gospel to the ends of the earth? Or, maybe He is just asking you to walk across the street to a neighbor, or across the hall to a co-worker. Each one of these journeys, across the globe, across the street, or across the hall begins with just one step. Ask the Lord today to help you take the next step in faith to minister to those to whom He is sending you. Also, ask Him for His favor, that they will receive the message of hope, found only in Jesus Christ. Go be amazing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Power of Delight — Tests & Trials — Psalm 119.33-40…Handout

Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem using the A, B, G’s of the Hebrew alphabet. With___ letters there are 22 stanzas with___ verses each. This week the 5th stanza, Heh (Hei). Looking at Tests & Trials: Pray, Don’t, Possess.

1) Pray For________ (119:33-35) Ever asked God, What I am I suppose to be doing? Yes / No. Take the advice of James 1:5. Remember, God is our heavenly Father and wants all of His children to hear and comprehend His Word. The admissions process to a university, often asks a series of questions. One such question is, Why do you want to attend?_________________ King David answers this in Psalm 119:34-35. Do you ever say, I feel like matriculating a class at Life U. that is going to help me learn and apply God’s Word? Yes / No. Understand none of us are righteous. (Rom. 3:10) So, David asks God to clarify, illuminate how the Scriptures profit us. Straight from 2 Timothy 3:16 we find all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for: 1.__________ 2.__________ 3.___________ 4.__________ In_________________. Did you know that one of Satan’s powerful lies is the NFL? Yes / No. Satan loves to ply people with the myth that God is a____ ____ ____. God is the one planned and created. Making Him the only one who really knows what will bring us the ultimate fulfillment. So, is there a sin you wished you never knew existed? Write what it is_______________________________________.

2) Don’t Get____________ (119:36-37) Do you ever get sidetracked? Yes / No. The Bible teaches that we are to avoid these temporary preoccupations with things that can get us sidetracked. A recent study suggests on average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a_____ task at hand. (Think maps) Whereas women have superior memory and social cognition skills for on average___things at once. (Think motherhood) David mentions___different kinds of preoccupations. Preoccupation #1—The____. (Psalm 119:26) Jesus says in Matthew 6:24~No one can serve___ masters…(ESV) Preoccupation #2—The_________. Have any do-dads, play pretties, or even a case of glass menageries? Yes / No. Remember Soly’s term paper on the acquisition of all vain things? Yes / No. What was the name of his paper or book?_________. The whole duty of mankind is to keep God’s commands. Are you a good steward or student of God’s Word, keeping His commands? Yes / No.

3) Possess The_____ Desires (119:38-40) Because our hearts are desperately wicked, (Jeremiah 17:9) David says Confirm to your servant your promise or Word. (Psalm 119:38) Matriculating Life Univ. requires we increase our understanding of God’s Word. Eternal truth is___ served buffet-style, where we get to pick and choose only what we want. David states in verse 38 that we will fear God when He confirms His promises. Why is that true?_________ (hint: salvation) Do you know what John’s reaction is to the coming judge? Yes / No. Revelation 1:17~When I saw him, I___ at his feet as though dead…(ESV) Secondly, Did you hear how Jesus speaks to John’s fear? Yes / No. He says, fear____!  As with any school, university, there is the potential of dropping out of Life U. Why? Because being friends with Jesus will make us enemies with the world. (2 Timothy 3:12)