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The Miracles and the Message

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
April 17, 2024 9:00 am

The Miracles and the Message

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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April 17, 2024 9:00 am

The world today is full of suffering and pain. But is that how it's supposed to be? Wednesday on Summit Life, Pastor J.D. Greear explains that God has a better plan for us—both now and in the world to come.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Hello, and welcome to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of pastor, author, and apologist, J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Now, no one can deny that there's plenty of suffering in the world today. I mean, just turn on the evening news or scroll through social media or read the newspaper, and we all wonder one thing really. Why is that how the world is supposed to be? Well, thankfully, today, Pastor J.D. explains that in the world to come, God has a different plan for our lives, which doesn't necessarily remove all of the troubles of today.

But it does bring us hope that it won't always be this way. If you missed any of the previous teaching in this series, you can always find it online at jdgreer.com. But for now, let's join Pastor J.D.

in Acts chapter 3. You know, if you like to watch movies, you realize that actors have a tendency to get typecast. You start to know what to expect when you see a certain person in a certain role. Some actors are known as action heroes. Some are always buffoons.

Some of them are the wise cracking sidekick. Whenever Tom Cruise stars in a film, I know to expect the macho, insecure guy with daddy issues, right? Vin Diesel is never going to be the articulate, witty, romantic type. You never hear that the lead role in a certain movie has come down to two people, Channing Tatum or Kevin James, right? Tatum only plays Tatum roles. James only plays James roles. Hugh Grant is never going to play the role of a man, okay, in any movie.

Nicholas Cage is never going to be anything but awesome, all right? So you get typecast. I read an article the other day that explained that the church has been typecast in our society. For many people, the role that we play in society, not just us as a summit church, but the church in general, the role we play is as antagonist to progress. So whenever we're brought up, we're morally regressive. We are against the progress of science.

We are against the development of good culture. Now, that's not a new characterization. In fact, if you study church history all the way back to Acts, you'll find that the people of God have always been regarded by the people of the world as those who are enemies of the state, those who are hateful people and so forth.

But what I want to try to show you this weekend is that while that characterization is not new, it is not at all accurate. And we're going to do that by looking at the first miracle that we find in the book of Acts. So if you have your Bible, if you would turn it on.

I've figured you people out. If you would turn it on and you would scroll down to Acts 3, we're going to look at the first miracle in Acts. This is the first post-Jesus miracle, and it involves Peter and John healing a guy.

Now, physical healing is going to occur frequently throughout the book of Acts, 14 times total, in 12 of 28 chapters in Acts. Acts 3 is the first instance, and some scholars say that if you understand this miracle, you understand this one in a way, you're going to understand all of them. So we're going to look at this one miracle as a way of kind of understanding every miracle that takes place in the book of Acts. This miracle shows you how God feels about suffering in the world and what he is doing about it. And it shows you what he is saying to us in that suffering, and it shows us as a church what our mission is in the world in light of suffering. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to walk you through this miracle and give you Peter's explanation of it, and at the end, I'm going to try to answer several questions about physical healing that I often get asked. Acts chapter 3, let me summarize verse 11 verses. A miracle basically goes like this.

Peter and John are going to the temple, as they often do. As they're going in, they see a guy there that they've seen many times, but he's lame, can't walk, and he's been that way from his birth. So he holds up his hand and he says, sirs, may I have some money? He's a beggar.

He's been that way for as long as he has been alive. Peter and John look at this man. Peter looks him right in the eyes and he says, I don't have any money. I'm a poor evangelist. He says, but silver and gold have a number.

What I do have, I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And he reaches out his hand to this guy to give him an opportunity to show faith. And this guy, you can almost kind of feel it for a minute as is he being made a fool of?

What's happening? He reaches out his hand in faith and grabs hold of Peter's hand and the text says immediately he leaps up, which is a great way of thinking about this. I mean, he doesn't like, you know, crawl up and start, you know, walk in and then run like a month later. He just jumps up immediately and does something on a, you know, whatever in the air. And he starts jumping up and down and running around the temple court and seeing how high he can, you know, he touched things and leaping and praising God. Well, this causes, as you can imagine, quite a commotion because everybody knows this guy.

He's been a staple in the temple and I'm right outside of it for years. And so there's this big commotion and a huge crowd gathers to ask what's happening because they're all amazed. And so Peter stands up, verse 12, men of Israel, why do you wonder at this?

Or why do you stare at us? Though by our own power or piety, we've made this man walk. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers has glorified his servant, Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of pilot. When pilot had decided to release him, you killed the author of life, whom God raised from the dead to this. We are witnesses. You see his name by faith in his name has made this man whom you see and know he has made him strong. And the faith that is through Jesus has given this man, this perfect health in the presence of all of you.

And now brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, just like your rulers did. Repent then and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out and that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, that he may send again, the Messiah who has been appointed for you, even Jesus, the one you rejected. Heaven had to receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, just like he promised long ago through his holy prophets. Verse 22, Moses said, the Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him and whatever he tells you.

And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people. One commentator that I was listening to reading said that this Peter's explanation of this miracle shows you four different directions that this miracle points. Four different directions this miracle points.

So I want to give those to you and show you how you learn what is happening in these miracles through these four directions. First direction is upward. It points upward to God's authentication of Jesus. Everybody point upward. We're going to do a TPR, total physical response learning technique, okay?

All right, you teachers are impressed I know that, all right? So everybody upward? All right, put your hands down. Upward to God's authentication of Jesus. Verse 15, you killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead.

And then we're witnesses of that. And then by Jesus's resurrected name, that's how we gave this man strength to resurrect from his lame position and begin to walk. Miracles were God's validation of the apostles. It was like a divine signature that God put on their message showing that it was not forged.

I showed you last week that prophecy was another signature. Miracles are the other one. The writer of Hebrews says it this way. Listen, our great salvation was declared at first by Jesus, by the Lord, but then it was attested to us by those who heard, meaning the apostles. God also bearing witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit. Miracles were God's way of saying these guys are really from me. The message they're given is accurate.

It's what I want the world to know. You see, if you've got two contradictory opinions about Jesus, you should take the one that is validated by miracles. Shoving God in wherever there's a gap in knowledge is bad scientific technique because that technique will keep us from discovering things God wants us to know about the world.

God made the world to run according to laws, and if we keep pressing on scientific and historical problems, we can almost always discover those laws. It's kind of like if you're trying to figure out a magician's tricks. Have you ever seen a magician like, how does he do that? It looks like magic.

If you really want to figure out what he or she is doing, take off the table that Hogwarts is real, and there really is magicians who can do it. No, it's always a trick of some kind. If you want to press through to figure it out, you've got to take off the table that there's a supernatural explanation. When it comes to these things, I fully buy into that method, but having said that, there are certain times in history so extraordinary that any reasonable consideration that you give to them must conclude that there's got to be some kind of divine in there. The very beginning of the world is like that. Regardless of whether you believe in special creation or evolution, you've got the problem of where does it all come from?

The idea that nothing times nobody equals everything is not compelling at all. The events of Jesus' life and resurrection are also in that category. You say, I'm an educated person, and I just don't want to believe in miracles.

Look, here's a news flash. If you believe in God, you're acknowledging the possibility of miracles. There's no miracle greater than the statement, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. If you believe in God, you have to accept the possibility of a miracle.

A God who created the laws of the universe could certainly suspend them. I remember hearing a story of a little girl, she's 12 years old, in a Sunday school class, prone to ask questions as they often are. The Sunday school teacher teaching about Jonah and the big fish or the whale, and she's like, wait a minute, seriously, how did the fish know exactly where to be in the ocean when Jonah got thrown overboard? How did he stay alive in there for three days? Where did he get air? How did the fish know exactly where to spit him off so he could go preach in Nineveh?

Really? The teacher's like, God made the fish. She's like, yeah, if you bring God into it, then that's an explanation. That's kind of the point. There are certain places like around Jesus' life and resurrection that you can't just take God off the table because that's being closed-minded. You really have two choices. You're either a committed, avowed atheist or you allow the possibility of miracles.

Those are really the only two categories. Now, again, that doesn't mean that's the way the universe normally works, but God surrounded the ministry of Jesus with miracles, authenticating the message, and there's really no other good explanation for the events of Jesus' life and the birth of the church besides that. Now, having said that to you, I will tell you that the miracles are really just there.

They're kind of like fireworks or kind of like a firecracker. Just direct your attention to Jesus. Because if you really want a solid foundation for your faith, don't put it in the miracles. Put it in Jesus. My faith does not rest on the evidence for miracles. My faith rests on the character and the beauty of the God-man that came, the beauty of Jesus Christ. That's when you become really convinced.

I love how one guy says it. God did not give us a watertight argument. He gave us a watertight person.

Right? And the arguments are just there to kind of like flash for you so that you will consider the person. So if you doubt this, just get into Jesus and look at who He is. Let the miracles at least raise your awareness of who is this man who came claiming to be God, claiming to be the Holy One to die for my sin to rescue me. You are listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer, and we'll get right back to today's teaching in just a moment. First, I wanted to take a moment to shout out a very special group of people, our gospel partners, the team that gives so generously to this ministry each and every month. It's not an exaggeration to say that they are the financial fuel behind everything we do, including broadcasting Summit Life every weekday. We call them gospel partners because that's exactly what they do. They are actually partnering with us to help make the gospel known around the globe. And this month we are sending each of these faithful supporters a copy of Pastor J.D. 's newest book, Twelve Truths and a Lie, and a discussion guide to go with it. This ministry couldn't exist without our gospel partners, and it's always a privilege to say thank you with our specially curated featured resource each month. To give a one-time gift or to join with us as a monthly gospel partner, as well as get your copy of Twelve Truths and a Lie and the accompanying discussion guide, call us right away.

The number is 866-335-5220, or you can visit us online at jdgrier.com. Now let's get back to today's teaching. Once again, here's Pastor J.D.

on Summit Life. Let me ask you the same question that Peter asked this group. Have you listened to Jesus?

That's the way he concludes this, right? Every soul who does not listen to that prophet will be destroyed from the people. You've got an opinion about Jesus. God has an opinion too. And God verified his through miracles and through the resurrection. God declared him to be the Lord. God declared him to be the salvation that he gave from heaven. God declared him to be an invitation for you to come home. I know you've got an opinion about Jesus, but God said, that's my man.

That's the one I sent. Are you listening to him? There's too much happening back here for you just to relegate this as to something you're going to get to when you're in your 50s. Are you listening to that prophet because he came with power and that power demands your attention because he came as the Lord to be your savior? Which leads me to number two. This miracle points, everybody point out, upwards, number two, this miracle points forward. Everybody point forward. Everybody, okay, that means you people in the back. Okay, I'm pointing at you right now.

Forward, right? Everybody point forward to the future restoration. It points upward to the authentication from heaven. It points forward to Jesus' future resurrection. Peter, verse 21, says that this healing is a sign of the coming restoration of all things that God has promised. You see, Jews would have recognized the healing of this lame man as a fulfillment of Isaiah 35, 6. When Isaiah prophesies the future restoration that God brings to the world, he says this, then shall the lame man leap like a deer. That's what's significant about the man getting up and immediately doing a cartwheel.

Not that deers do cartwheel, but you know what I mean. He's leap, he's fulfilling this verse. Isaiah explained that when God sent a Messiah, he would purchase healing for the whole world. Isaiah 53, 5, by his wounds we will be healed and through his work all the pain of the earth would be reversed. In fact, this was in my time with God this week.

It's sort of so beautiful. These passages I was reading, the lion will lay down with the lamb and the infant will play near the cobra's den. The young child will put his hand into the viper's nest. I mean, they do that anyway, but it'll be okay, you know, when they do it. They will neither harm, there will be no harm or destruction on all my holy mountain for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Then will the eyes of the blind be open and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer and the mute tongue will shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. Look around you and see for all your children will come back to you. You that have lost children, they'll come back to you, they will carry your little sons back to you in their arms. They will bring back your daughters on the shoulders of angels. That's the future.

That's the future. Now, this is important. Does that mean that from now on, anyone who believes in Jesus is going to be healed?

Well, no, not now. You see, there were lots of lame people at the temple. This was not the only guy. Peter only healed that one. This healing, get this, this is so important, was a sign of the full restoration coming in the future. You see, not only did the apostles' message point upward to God's authentication of the message, the miracle pointed forward to the kind of restoration that Jesus was going to bring to the whole world.

I've explained this to you before. Jesus' miracles were not simply magic shows about how powerful he was. If Jesus wanted to prove how powerful he was, he could have written his name in the sky with his finger. That's not the kind of miracles that he did. Every miracle that Jesus and the apostles did was an alleviation of suffering, every one. They pointed to Jesus' saving purpose.

I've heard it said like this. Jesus' miracles did not show off the naked fact of his power. Jesus' miracles revealed the redemptive purpose of his power.

You follow that? He healed leprosy. He cured blindness. He stopped storms.

He raised the dead. These miracles show us that God is no happier with the world and the condition that it's in than you or I are happy with it. God did not create the world with pain, with blindness, disease, or death. That all came through the corruption of sin. Pain and disease are not natural to a world that is now red in tooth and claw. Those are foreign to the world. They are introduced by the rebellion of our world against God. These miracles point us to the world, back to the world as God created it to be, and the world as God wants it to be again, and the world as God will one day make it again.

You've heard me say this before. Miracles are not a suspension of the natural order. Miracles are a return to the natural order.

Jesus' healings are the only natural things in a world that is unnatural, demonized, and wounded. To those of you who are in pain, see, that is your great hope, and that is your sustaining joy. It's temporary. You can listen to it. The mute tongue will one day shout for joy. The ears of the deaf are unstopped. It will bring back your little sons in their arms, and it will carry your daughters back to you on the shoulders of angels.

That's the future that God has prophesied for you. I remember reading the biography of Joni Eareckson Tada years ago. She's probably in her 60s now, but when she was a teenager, she had a diving accident, broke her neck, paralyzed from the neck down, quadriplegic.

She still had full use of her facial features and her head, but she couldn't move anything from her neck down. God used that to bring Joni Eareckson Tada back to himself. She talked about, in her biography, just about what life is like for her, but how joyous it is to have been reunited to God, and that if this is what it took for God to get her attention, then she would one day think of that as the greatest blessing that God put in her life. But then she begins to kind of dream a little bit about heaven in a way that only she, or you and I, probably are not as able to do it. And she said this, and I just think this is so beautiful.

She said, one day in heaven, at that great marriage supper of the lamb, the first thing I think I'll do on my newly resurrected legs is fall to my glorified knees and praise the God of resurrection and healing, and then I will stand and dance before him with all of my might. That's the future for those of you who are in pain. Do you want that future healing? Don't you know, by the way, deep down that you're made for that kind of healing? Don't you know that you are created to be in a world without brokenness and pain? Don't you know that? But for the people of God, he says, this is what I have coming for you, that which you are created for, that which I am doing. I will one day make every sad thing come untrue, and one day there will be no more pain, no more crying, and I will remove every bit of disease and death because I created you to walk with me, to walk in my blessing. Do you want that?

Do you want that? Then you've got to repent toward Jesus, for only in him is that healing found, and the only ones who will go into that blessed eternity are those who have surrendered and been reconciled to God through him. Which leads me to number three. It points, I can see you people at Chapel Hill, raise your hand. It points upward to God's authentication of Jesus. It points forward to the coming restoration. It points inward.

He faked you out, didn't he? It points inward, inward to our soul's need of salvation. It points inward to our soul's need of salvation.

The physical ailments of some point to the heart condition of all. You see, some people are physically blind, but Ephesians says we're all spiritually blind. The physical sickness of our bodies points to the inward sickness of our souls.

Now, do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that if you have a physical ailment, it points to something uniquely wrong with you, as if the reason you have that physical problem is because of a spiritual problem. I'm speaking in a general sense. I'm saying that the physical brokenness of the world, you know, all over the place is a sign to us of the broken condition of our souls and our disconnect from God. Our world is physically sick because we're spiritually sick.

Our world experiences physical death because we are dead in our trespasses and sin. So the miracles of Jesus and the apostles are a message about the salvation that Jesus can bring to our souls. The lame guy asks for money. He thinks that's going to be the greatest blessing he can get, right? If I can just have some money, right? And Peter says, look, I don't have any money, but what I do have, I got something better. I got something better. I got something deeper.

Rise up and walk. But then the guy goes on to become a disciple of Jesus. You'll see that in chapter four, which is the greatest of all the gifts that Peter could have given to him. You see, as bad as suffering is, there's something worse.

As bad as physical suffering is, there is something worse, and that is being crippled by our sin. You're listening to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of pastor, author, and apologist J.D. Greer. Listen online or download the complete, unedited transcripts free of charge when you visit us at jdgreer.com. A little while ago, I sat down with Pastor J.D. to ask him what he hopes and prays for as people open up his new book, 12 Truths and a Lie.

Here's what he had to say. Well, first of all, this is one of those books that every single chapter stands on its own. As with all these things, I wanted to help people understand and be more confident in their walk with God. I pray over everything I've ever written that it would introduce people who don't know Jesus to Him, that it would strengthen those who know Jesus to be more confident in Him, to love Him more, to trust Him more, and that it would light a fire. It would be part of the motivation of sending them out into the fields Jesus said that were wide unto harvest. So that's really kind of the heart behind this book is taking 12 of the most difficult questions that we either ask as Christians or we get asked as Christians. A lie in the book is that the presence of these kinds of questions, the presence of doubts, means there's something defective about your faith. The majority of our Bible was written by people who were asking why questions.

We're in a time of doubt and they learn to trust God through the doubts. You can request that when you give to support the ministry of Summit Life and you can do that at my website, of course, jdware.com. You can get your copy of Pastor JD's latest book, 12 Truths and a Lie, when you give $35 or more to this ministry.

Not only is the book written in a way to help those who are exploring their faith, but the discussion guide helps you take conversations to a deeper level with a friend, your children, or a small group. To give, call us now at 866-335-5220 or you can visit jdgrier.com anytime. I'm Molly Vitevich. Be sure to join us again Thursday when Pastor JD continues our study on the miracles and the message of Jesus. We'll see you tomorrow on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-17 10:06:43 / 2024-04-17 10:17:29 / 11

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