"You Will Give"
2ND MIRACLE-LIFE JOHN 4:43ff
INTRODUCTION: A friend told me that he went to Burden the other day and as he drove into town he saw an old huge tent…it was a tent revival. He thought he would stop…the preaching was hell fire damnation, the preacher was cranked…after the sermon they had a healing service…crutches tossed aside and dancing…glasses thrown off and I can see….so he decided to go up as well…what can I do for you sir? Well I’m concerned about my hearing my friend said…slapped around, fingers in the ears…how are you now…a little surprised: I’m in the midst of a messy divorce and it is not going well, and my attorney says it all rides on my hearing next week.
For LENT this year we are considering the first half of John’s gospel…It’s a Miracle. What does a miracle even mean in our world today? What about you…maybe you have seen a miracle…maybe you feel like a miracle has happened in your life, that you experienced God’s healing hand in a special way. It’s a miracle…what does that even mean?
Our world has changed...we now have science and medicine and our attitude about miracles I suspect has changed.
-1- You might be surprised to realize that even the gospels demonstrate a shift in if not what miracles mean, at least a shift in the priority of their meaning.
The gospel of Mark, hailed by most of us as the first gospel is divided into two halves, right in the middle is the great testimony of Peter, thou art the Christ…and after that Jesus and his band of disciples set their face to Jerusalem…the first half of Mark…has a slew of miracles, in fact 200 of the 425 verses of Mark deal directly or indirectly with miracles. And these miracles are the mighty works of God. We recently covered some of Mark and during those sermons we sang Mighty to Save.
John is the last of the four gospels and he carefully picks out seven miracles…He calls them signs and wonders…and they are not just demonstrations of the power of God, they are each designed to symbolically give us more information about the nature of new life in Jesus. Of the seven miracles 3 are definitely found in the gospels, 3 more are of the same type of the ones in the gospels and only one is not found in the gospels…and that is the turning of water into wine which I preached on last week. The signs and wonders of John…are a call to look more deeply at the miraculous…to believe…and to see the presence of Christ alive making life meaningful and new.
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
Mark-miracles are mighty acts…HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE.
John-signs and wonders…they point to faith in Christ…LORD I LIFT YOUR NAME ON HIGH.
Which one is correct? Yes. Mighty works and a call to live a deepened life of faith. And by the way, signs and wonders…a good way at looking at it…you don’t always get miracles…at least not in the way requested…they are signs and wonders…don’t happen always.
2. Let us look at the passage today:
miracle as one unit of material.
-Father concerned about his Son…willing to do anything for his son. Father begging Jesus to come with him as His son is close to death.
--Unless you people see miraculous sings and wonders…you will not believe…I am not a tent revivalist…these miracles mean something…believe in me…believe in Him so sent me. Miracles are not some cheap parlor trick…not some cheap belief where Jesus must do what we want Him to do…
-Sir come before my son is dead.
-Jesus, you may go…your son will live.
-The man took Jesus at His word and departed….THERE IS FAITH.
-On his way back…servants met him…your son is ok…the fever left him on the seventh hour…
-the father realized that this happened at the time when Jesus said, Your son will live.
-the father believed in Jesus…he and his household believed.
The miracle of belief: the father experienced something bigger than himself…He experienced Jesus the Christ…it changed his life…gave life to His Son.
A sense of awe…
A sense of connectivity…Jesus can say, your Son is well, Son not even around…God at work.
I suspect that some of you have seen signs and wonders…maybe you have experienced signs and wonders…we are talking sacred stories here.
-Beginning of my work in Elkins…right after getting there on a Christmas Eve…one of our children…in fourth grade at the time…went out of the sanctuary…holding onto his candle…the candle was blown out…he turned around…entered a street…was hit by a car…thrown through the air…over 10 feet….landed on his head…a Dr. at the scene could not find his pulse…the Church gathered at 11:00…we simply prayed. The young man is now a professor in a college.
-Sometimes the “miracle” is not a healing story…it is a special awareness of the presence and power of God.
-I had an experience of God’s presence crossing the country…a friend in California was very sick…a brain tumor. One day I went to swim at noon…while swimming I was overcome with the need to pray…Prayed for Phil…after swimming went back to the office…I got a phone call from a friend…Phil has passed away hasn’t he? How did you know that? He died while I was praying for him swimming…the mystery of faith….
3. The signs and wonders of life call us to faith.
The seven miracles in John…stories of faith.
Response of the man today…faith…response of disciples last week….faith…
I have had the distinct privilege of seeing hundreds of miracles…since I have been in Winfield FBC…seen 19 miracles…19 times people have said…I believe in Jesus Christ…the miracle of new life….
I pray for this Church…I pray we will have an eye for the miraculous…I pray we will learn to be in touch with the presence of God…I pray we will be a congregation that will welcome His power and presence…excited for what God has done…excited for what God is doing…excited for what God will do.
Incredible expressions of that through confessing Christ as Savior and baptisms…..
When a sinner comes to Christ…angels in heaven rejoice….
Faith…the greatest miracle….the seven signs and wonders…point to faith.
Faith…a changed world view…Jesus Christ is Lord…learning more of Him…
The seven signs and wonders…last week theme of joy…the cross…the joy of new life..
Today…the wonder of life restored…
Sensing the presence and power of God…new life…
Faith…the greatest miracle. Awe! Wonder! Open to the presence of God! The greatest miracle-new life…a changed world view. The seven miracles of John-symbols of the cross and resurrection…symbolds of the new life.
4. We live in a changing world…
The temptation of people is to say when they don’t understand something…it is a miracle…first heart surgery…a miracle..now thousands have had them…
God of the gaps…can’t explain something=must be God…our world is changing…our world view is changing.
Gravitational pull…last week science heard a noise on an advanced monitoring device which they believe was the sound of a wave or they heard the effects of gravitational pull created in a galaxy far away and years and years ago. It is believed that two dark holes collided and absorbed each other and that incredible collision created energy and that energy has traveled through our galaxies, not in a straight line but in waves as it were…This whole study confirms some of Einstein’s early thoughts about relativity.
It is quite a big deal actually. I heard some in the science community comparing this to the beginning of the telescope…with the telescope we have eyes to look out into space…now we are creating instruments in which to hear.
We live in a changing world…
We are learning more about our world…
Another aspect of Einstein’s thought was the idea that creation is continuing to expand…I frankly love that idea…the idea that God is not done creating…wow.
The God of the gaps…explain something…it loses value…we can understand it.
No…the awe and wonder of life…learning more…curiosity is a good thing…wonder is a good thing…
Miracle: seeing the mighty works of God.
Seeing signs and wonders…life having meaning through Christ.
Miracle of new life in Christ.
CONCLUSION: WHAT ABOUT YOU…HAVE YOU ENTERED INTO THE MIRACLE OF FAITH? BELIEVE…RESPOND. AMEN