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Modern Day Miracles

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We can't settle for less than what Jesus promised would come

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Opening Remarks

Crowded in church - if we had the eyes to see everyone’s burden/cross, you’d be amazed we fit in here at all.
Good to be in the pulpit, heartfelt thanks to Paul and Sherri for keeping it going while I recovered
I’ll try to be brief if you all help me preach

Opening Scripture

Mark 9:14–29 KJV 1900
14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. 15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. 16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? 17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
How do you make sense of that statement - “I believe, help thou mine unbelief”. Did he believe or not?
Pastor Mike Paraphrase - “I wanna believe. It makes sense in my head, but there’s so much fear and doubt in my heart. People way smarter than me say you’re just a fake. People all around have failed me - doctors, rabbis, your own disciples couldn’t even do anything for us. I’m hurting, my hope is gone, and I’m scared that when you’re done and we leave here that we’re going to see another fire and the spirit is going to throw my boy into it again, or the next river we cross it’ll finally succeed at drowning him. So can you help me, even though I’m broken, even though my faith is imperfect?”
God is big enough to handle your doubt/anger/resentment. You’re not going to scare him away with your honesty about your doubts. He already knows them. He’s not going to reject you because of feelings that he shares - you’re made in his image. Bible says to be angry and sin not. Jesus himself got mad at situations and circumstances. He despaired and cried out to God. There’s nothing you can throw at him that he isn’t able to handle.
So despite the man’s doubts, Jesus answers the father’s request. He delivers the boy from his possession.
So why don’t we see miracles like this today?
Think about the sort of things Jesus does in Scripture:
He opens blinded eyes
He casts out spirits
He casts out spirits
He heals cripples paralyzed since birth
He restores hearing to deaf ears
He regrows an entire ear that was cut off of a man
He cures internal illnesses that no doctor could help with
He raises the dead back to life
He heals lepers - a disease that was considered a death sentence
He calms storms with a word
He feeds 5000 with a boy’s lunch
And on, and on, and on...
Maybe you’re thinking “That’s Jesus, and he’s not here in the flesh anymore”. And you’re absolutely right, but what about his disciples? Normal human beings like you and me who devoted their lives to him, performing many of the same miracles: healings, deliverances, supernatural protections, even raising the dead!
People try to come up with all sorts of explanations for why we don’t see these miracles anymore: The early disciples were special. It was for establishing the new church. It was a sign to the Jews. We lack the faith these days. For a long time I would’ve agreed with that last one myself. But think about what we just read. The man’s faith was not great. He admits to having doubts, he even tells Jesus “IF you can help us, please do something”. He’s at the point where he’s questioning whether Jesus even has the ability to do it! This is not an example of what we would consider strong faith. And if we’re being honest I suspect every one of us is closer to that level of faith than we’re willing to admit.
But we won’t admit it, will we? We’re taught to not show any weakness. To always be the best, the strongest, strive for perfection. Don’t show weakness. I see my kids and everything is a contest to them. I tell them to head upstairs, it’s immediately a race to the top. We go to eat, and it’s a competition who can complete the little games on their placemat first. Everything is a challenge to prove you’re the best and greatest.
And so we’re trapped in this cycle - we portray this image of perfect faith, when inside we’re like this father, wondering not only if God will do it, but if he even can. And then it doesn’t happen, and we scramble for some excuse that sounds good, all the while wondering if our secret lack of faith was the reason for the unanswered prayer.
I’m here to tell you that God is not stopped by your doubts. He is not going to be restrained by the questions and insecurities bouncing around in your head. The answer to why we do not see these miracles today is not a lack of faith! Think about some of the great prophets in the Bible. Moses was haunted by fear and doubt because of his previous failures, and God used him. Gideon had so much self doubt that even *after* an angel appears to him, he has to test God not once but twice just to confirm there’s not some mistake! And Elijah was so worried about whether God heard his prayer and would answer that he kept sending his servant running to the top of the mountain over and over and over again just hoping for the sight of a single cloud. Their doubt, and imperfect faith did not stop God from using them mightily, and displaying his power through him.
So what then is it we lack today? I’ll tell you, it’s determination. It’s desire. It’s desperation. Just about every miracle performed by Jesus began with a person who’s need was so great that they wouldn’t take no for an answer. They fought through crowds, they pushed past skeptics, they tore roofs off buildings, they climbed trees, they screamed and shouted to get his attention even as people tried to shut them up. They did whatever they had to in order to get what they needed from the master. They were desperate for a miracle because they had no other answer.
Elisha’s double portion
2 Kings 2 KJV 1900
1 And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el. 3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. 5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. 7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. 8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. 13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. 15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send. 17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. 18 And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not? 19 And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. 20 And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. 21 And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. 22 So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake. 23 And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. 24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. 25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.
2 Kings 2:1–15 KJV 1900
1 And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el. 3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. 5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. 7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. 8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. 13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. 15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.
John 14:12–14 KJV 1900
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
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