DEALING WITH MIRACLES
TEXT: Rev. 1:1-20
INTRO: Many people want to have a miracle happen in their life. That or they want to see a miracle. Sometimes we hear people say that they will consider Christ as follower if they witness a true miracle. There is this sense that if we can prove God’s existence through a great miracle then the whole world would turn to God and things would be so different.
The other side of the coin is when believers tell God in their prayers, “God, if you just do a great miracle I will never doubt you again.” Sure, you have never said that, it is only me!!! Or my favorite prayer every couple of months; “God, this is the one time in my whole life I ask you for a miracle, I won’t ask again, just this time – I promise!” Sometimes to bend God’s arm a little bit I might add, “I’m not asking for me Lord, but for those unbelievers who know me, just think how it might turn them to you.”
We have never really dealt with miracles in our theology much … yet we need to. First: God will do the miraculous still!!! The Bible does NOT support the idea that the days of miracles are over!
Secondly: Many Christians fail to understand the function and purpose of miracles.
Thirdly: Miracles serve a purpose for unbelievers.
PROP.SENT: The Bible teaches us that the supernatural continues to invade the natural realm today, and does not serve the purpose of making life easier, but in revealing Christ.
I. SEEING CHRIST Rev. 1:1-8
A. Revelation of Christ Rev. 1:1-6
1. Miracles are not about us!
a. This is the problem with people seeking miracles … and hence Jesus’ comments about the Pharisees who sought for a sign. Mark 8:11-12 “The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.” He sighed deeply and said, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.’” Jesus refused to do miracles for an audience.
b. Miracles are not about doing a show. Paul also identified that people would rather have signs than preaching: 1 Cor 1:22-23 “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,”
2. Ironically, if people saw a miracle they probably wouldn’t believe it anyway!!!
ILLUS: A man and his dog were walking the beach when they came upon another visitor to the beach. The owner of the dog was proud of his dog's newly mastered feat, so he said to the visitor, "Watch this!" whereupon he tossed a piece of driftwood far out into the sea and the dog immediately ran on top of the ocean, fetched the wood, and ran back. The visitor just shook his head in disbelief. Whereupon the owner repeated the procedure twice. Finally he asked the visitor, "Did you notice anything unusual?" The visitor responded, "Your dog can't swim, can he?" -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 135.
3. Note that the book of Revelation is not about the future as much as it is about the “REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!”
a. Yes it describes the future, but not until we first understand who Jesus is!
b. There is no sense in getting a supernatural understanding about the future until we have a full understanding of the supernatural God who controls it!
c. This is why the book starts with Jesus unveiled in all His glory … this is the same Jesus John knew before the cross but now in a glorified state. This revelation overwhelms John.
B. Regal Christ Rev. 1:7-8
1. Every eye will one day see Him! -- No exceptions!
a. He will come with great clouds (His saints – us!)
b. All on earth will see Him.
c. Those who pierced Him will again see Him … they will be raised from the dead along with everyone else who died in history!
d. Everyone will mourn on the earth … for everyone left are those who rejected Him, the “clouds” are the resurrected saints who return with Him, so all others mourn because they were left behind.
2. We are of royal blood in Christ …
ILLUS: We have all heard people of royalty referred to as "blue bloods." The reason is this. Long ago they were waited on continually and got little exercise. The lack of physical exertion made their blood cool; it lacked oxygen induced by exercise. When the veins showed through their skin, it appeared that the blood was pale blue. Christians constitute a spiritual aristocracy, and that is also due to blood. Revelation 1:5-6 (KJV) says that Jesus washed us in his blood and made us kings. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
3. We have been made alive in Christ and of royal descent.
4. Therefore we shall rule and reign with Him forever!
5. He is the Alpha and Omega … the beginning and the end, who was, and who is, and who is to come. This is repeated over and over again.
A. Real Consequences Rev. 1:9-17
1. John sees Jesus for what He really is … and the powerful supernatural miracle literally makes Him lose his strength until God touches him.
a. This is a side of the supernatural we DON’T consider!
b. We all want miracles until we see what we really get when we get them!
ILLUS: Moses and the people were in the desert, but what was he going to do with them?
They had to be fed, and feeding 3 or 3 1/2 million people requires a lot of food.
According to the Quartermaster General in the Army, it is reported that Moses would have to have 1,500 tons of food each day. Do you know that to bring that much food each day, two freight trains each a mile long would be required!
Besides you must remember, they were out in the desert, and they would have to have firewood to use in cooking the food. This would take 4,000 tons of wood and a few more freight trains each a mile long, just for one day.
And just think, they were forty years in transit. Oh, yes, they would have to have water. If they only had enough to drink and wash a few dishes, it would take 11,000,000 gallons each day, and a freight train with tank cars 1,800 miles long, just to bring water!
And then another thing. They had to get across the
But then another problem. Each time they camped at the end of the
day, a campground two-thirds the size of the state of
Do you think Moses figured all
this out before he left
2. Do you think Mary’s life got easier when God touched her and made her pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit?
a. I can just hear her mom and dad now when she tells them as a young teenager!!
b. And Joseph’s first reaction when she tells him she is pregnant but still a virgin!! (he decided to put her away quietly at first!!)
c. Yea, the whole town just embraced her lovingly … NOT SO!
3. Elijah had a great miracle beating up the 450 prophets of Baal and destroying them when the fire from heaven. Yet, after the great miracle he is seen running away and hiding in the desert … his life becomes more complicated as a result of the miracle, not less.
4. Daniel’s supernatural deliverance only made him more a target of attacks than an obscure would have been.
5. But what does all the above miracles have in common?
a. Mary’s pointed the world to God’s love … in Jesus!
b. Elijah’s revealed that God was the true God.
c. Daniel’s revealed that God was the only true God.
6. Miracles are not about us, they are about showing others that God is real. It is not about making us feel good, not about making our lives easier, not about gratifying our desires, it is about revealing Christ.
7. This is often why missionaries see more miracles where they are than we sometimes do, they are on the cutting edge of sharing the Gospel, and authenticating the Gospel as truth and who Jesus is.
8. However, we now live in a culture of unbelief, and the day of miracles is returning here too! We should expect the supernatural in our preaching. God is at work, He is revealing Himself.
ILLUS: Atheism has no future. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).
9. Like John, he was a prisoner on Patmos because of his faith in Christ … being a Christian can have consequences, even when you have great miracles in your life! John had experienced great miracles in his life, but he had learned a secret, when dirt comes, you deal with it?
B. Real Comfort! Rev. 1:18-20
1. Ok, so miracles aren’t always fun … but they are powerful!
a. Note also that God is in the midst of them!
b. Also note that God promises something even better than miracles, He promises to be with us no matter what!
2. While John had been the recipient of a lot of miraculous events in his life there was one thing that he wanted more than another miracle and that was the very presence of God Himself!
a. God’s presence is the greatest thing a person can experience in this life.
b. IT IS the greatest miracle!
Note that John’s suffering on
4. Jesus said, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
a. This same God held John in His hand too … it doesn’t get much better than this.
b. John had nothing to fear … God was on his side!
5. Yes there is a lot going on in the world today … lots of people are afraid, NOT SO for us!
6. And the good news: God also has the 7 stars in His hands (the pastors of the 7 churches) and He is walking among the 7 golden candlesticks (the churches) … which John clearly says are the “angels” (Greek “angelos” translated literally “messenger” and can be human like a pastor as well as heavenly … here it is almost surely the pastors of the churches and not heavenly angels since the context is the 7 earthly churches).
a. The good news is that God is among His church!
b. And God is holding up the Pastors and all His messengers!
Does it get tough in the here and now!? YUP! Does God however hold us up!? YUP! (Sorry, my
8. God is at work … yes miracles are still happening, but not as “feel good” events, they are happening as “focusing on God” events.
CONCLUSION: God is at work in the world through the miraculous, but it isn’t for doing a show. He is working supernaturally to draw people to Himself. The miraculous isn’t designed to make our lives easier, but to invite people into a living relationship with God through Christ.