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Monday, June 14, 2010

What are miracles for?

There are some amazing things in the Bible we can read about.  When we read about many of the Old Testament miracles we often forget we serve the same God that performed those miracles.  We forget that we serve the same  God that parted the Red Sea.  We serve the same God that sent Manna to his people. 

Many people today have the meaning of miracles twisted.  People do not understand the meaning of miracles.  Today we are taught that miracles are a reward of righteousness.  Let me tell you, MIRACLES ARE NOT A REWARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS!    

Look at a few examples in scripture. 
Jdg 13:24,25 Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the LORD blessed him.25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
We can see that he grew up in the Lord.  Fitting for a man who was going to deliver God's people.  He was well known for his strength.    He performed many miracles with his mighty hands.  

JDG 16:3 Now Samson lay until midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two posts and pulled them up along with the bars; then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain which is opposite Hebron. 
This was another miracle performed by Samson.  Are familiar where he was and what he did just prior to doing this?  

JDG 16:1,2 Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.2 When it was told to the Gazites, saying, “Samson has come here,” they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. And they kept silent all night, saying, “Let us wait until the morning light, then we will kill him.”
You see, the people of Gaza was planning to kill him but did you notice he was with a harlot.  Prior to this miracle HE WAS WITH A PROSTITUTE!  Do you still think miracles are a reward for righteousness?

Balaam was a sorcerer.  He knew of the one true God but made his services available on a freelance basis, so to speak.  Balak, the King of Moab, tried to make use of his services to curse the Israelites in Numbers 22:1-21.  God tells Balaam not to do it.  King Balak sent his men to Balaam again.  This time the Lord tells him to go with them this time but to only say and do what God says!  Soon enough Balaam speaks to the words of God!

NU 22:38 So Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come now to you! Am I able to speak anything at all? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I shall speak.” 

You see, Balaam prophesied!  He was a sorcerer.  He was not righteous!  MIRACLES ARE NOT A REWARD FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS!

Consider this, when we read in chapters 22 and 23 in the book of Numbers another miracle happens!  BALAAM'S DONKEY SPEAKS IN TONGUES!  We read where Balaam's donkey was given the ability to speak in man's language!

NU 22:28-30 And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”29 Then Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.”30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.”
What righteousness does a donkey have.  Did the Lord make a donkey in his own image?(GE 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them)  
Did the Lord breathe life into a donkey?(GE 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.)   NO!!

1SA 13:14 “But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” 
This is what Samuel says to Saul in reference to David.  David was known as "a man after God's own heart."  I want you to know that the man after God's own heart NEVER PERFORMED A MIRACLE!

MT 11:11 “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!
This is what Jesus says concerning John the Baptist!  I want you to know that the greatest  among those born of a woman NEVER PERFORMED A MIRACLE!


So, what are miracles for?  Miracles happened for two reasons.
 JOS 3:7 Now the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. 
Look at what God told Joshua.  "I will begin to exalt you; that they may know; I will be with you"  

Look at the miracles mentioned earlier!

Samson was in a position of authority to deliver Israel.

JDG 13:5 “ For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” 

Balaam was revealing a truth or the word of God!

NU 23:5 Then the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and you shall speak thus.”

NU 23:16 Then the LORD met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.”

Balaam's Donkey showed to Balaam God's authority not only to speak to man but his authority over animals.  This was also to announce to Balaam that he will say and what the Lord tells him when he speaks with Balak.  See Num 22:22-35

Have a red letter day,

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Two sides of Salvation.

A man falls into a well and cannot escape.  He yells and yells until someone hears him.  The man who hears him lowers a ladder into the well.  The man who was trapped can now escape on the ladder.

You see, what the man in the well couldn't do for himself, another provided for him, but there was still an individual action that the man in the well must do in order to be saved.  He must use what was provided to him (ladder) in order to be saved from his dire situation (being stuck in the well).  Our salvation is the same way.  There are two sides to salvation!

Man started out in a state of innocence and chose to sin.  (Isa 53:6 All of us like sheep have gone astray) Now, Modernists teach that man started out as a viscous savage and has grown steadily better with the passing of time.  Granted, when you look at man he has progressed in technology and sophistication in the worldly aspect.  That same man, is spiraling downward
in the spiritual aspect.  Look at the morals of society today.  JESUS CAME AND SAW MAN ON A DOWNWARD SLIDE, NOT ON AN UPWARD GLIDE!

Here is a perfect example of what we are talking about. (Rom 1:22-32  22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.)  
After that one must agree with (Ps 8:4 What is man that You take thought of him)  

Satan may get man to turn his heart away from God but he will NEVER get God to keep his wrath on penitent man!  Man must first come to God through Christ (Jn 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me")  
God is angry with the wicked everyday!  (Ps 7:11 God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked everyday.)  Although, he is willing to forgive them if they will repent and turn from their evil ways.  Jonah said it best when he said, (Jnh 4:2 ...for I knew you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity)  Keep in mind, Jonah wanted to withhold that that mercy from Nineveh.

Romans 11 shows that God dealt with Israel because of their unbelief but in repentance he would accept them.  He received the Gentiles as well.  He warns them of unbelief and says he won’t spare them for unbelief any more than he had the Israelites! 

If everything about salvation was merely God’s part, all would be saved, because what he has done for one person, he has done for all.  John 3:16 says God loves all.  Christ died for all  (1Ti  2:5,6  For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,6who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. )  Mk 16:15 says that salvation has been sent to all.

Man often confuses the “partaking” with the “providing”!  That is very evident in the teaching of baptism.  Many respond to baptism in this way, “JESUS SAVES; NOT BAPTISM”  They are ignorant to the thought of “PARTAKING”  Jesus saves in the respect of providing salvation, but baptism is a part of man’s partaking of salvation!  

Do you understand what I’m saying?  You see, I’m not pulling this stuff out of the sky.  I have scripture to support what I’m saying! (1Pe 3:21 corresponging to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-- Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ) 
 Now if someone says ““JESUS SAVES; NOT BAPTISM”  you tell them this, “Baptism cannot provide salvation, Christ does that, but it is a part of what a person must personally do if he is to have salvation!”

After we are baptized we are to walk in a new life.  Hence, being born again!  
(Rom 6:4 
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life)  

Walking in that newness of life is that final stage.  Meaning we must abide in Christ or remain faithful in order to partake of the salvation he has to offer.  

(Heb 3:14 
For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,)

(Rom 8:1 
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus)

There are two sides to salvation.  God’s side and our side.  God has obviously fulfilled his part.  You can only have your sins taken away by being in Christ.