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The Miracles and the Message, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
April 18, 2024 9:00 am

The Miracles and the Message, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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April 18, 2024 9:00 am

Whether it’s money, fame, power, or even health, it’s human nature for us to want what we “think” will make us happy. But Pastor J.D. shows us that oftentimes getting what we think we want, is not what we need. In our series called SENT, Pastor J.D. is teaching us about God’s greater gifts.

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J.D. Greear

Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. The healing of the world comes through the sacrificial death of the church. God brings people around you into life the same way he brought life to you. Jesus's life went out from him and you were saved. As life and money and power go out from you, they will be saved. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. You know, whether it's money, fame, power, or even health, it's human nature for us to want what we think will make us happy. I mean, God's desire is for us to be happy and content, right? But today, Pastor J.D. shows us that getting what we want is often not at all what we need, and there's a big difference. In our current teaching series titled Sent, Pastor J.D. is teaching us today about God's greater gifts in a message he titled The Miracles and the Message. So grab your Bible, open to the book of Acts, and let's get started. At chapter three, 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? Peter looks him right in the eyes, and he says, I don't have any money. I'm a poor, you know, 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. He reaches out his hand in faith and grabs hold of Peter's hand, and the text says, immediately, he leaps up. He just jumps up immediately and does something, you know, whatever in the air, and he starts jumping up and down and running around the temple court 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 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, and then 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 Pilate, when Pilate 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 in 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 Peter's explanation of this miracle shows you four different directions that this miracle points. First direction is upward. It points 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. Number two, this miracle points forward to the future restoration. 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, which leads me to number three. It points inward. 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, 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 could 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 4, which is the greatest of all the gifts that Peter could have given to him. You see, as bad as physical suffering is, there is something worse, and that is being crippled by our sin.

And as great as physical healing is, there's something even greater than physical healing, and that is the salvation of your soul and reconciliation to God. If Peter had said, I mean, think about it. Think about it if this story was written this way.

If Peter had said, well, sorry, man, I ain't got any money. And you know what? I can't physically heal you either. But I can tell you that if you trust Jesus, your sins are forgiven and that you will have eternal life. Now, you might read that and think, well, that's much less moving. That's much less spectacular. But is it? In the salvation of the soul and the promise of full restoration greater than any temporary miracle? Sure it is. I can prove it to you really easily. This guy sitting by the temple each day looked at everybody walking by, and I'm sure he had this thought. If I could just walk, I would never be unhappy again.

Is that true? You walk. You ever been unhappy? Okay, so walking does not equate happiness. We all have something that we think, if we can just get that thing, it will satisfy us. But many other people have those very things, and they're not satisfied because we need something more than physical healing. We need something more than money.

We need something better than great relationships. We need restoration to God. So see, as bad as physical suffering is or something worse being crippled by our sin, as great as physical healing is, there's something greater, and that is restoration to God. In fact, I will tell you this, physical healing without soul healing is worthless, potentially even harmful.

Satan will gladly alleviate the suffering of your body if he can coerce you into suffering eternally apart from God. So let me just say, let me tell you what I could say to you. The ability to physically heal, I may not always have. But what I do have, salvation in Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins, peace, intimacy, friendship with God, and inheritance incorruptible that cannot be taken away, the power of new life in your family and marriage, the power to release you from addictions, that I freely give to you. Is that not the greatest of all gifts?

Right? I remember a friend of mine said to me a few years ago, we were having lunch, and his wife had cheated on him, left him. And he just sat there with tears in his eyes saying, will you pray with me that my wife will come back? And of course, I told him I would. He said, the greatest pain, the greatest pain I could ever experience in this world, he said, is to have someone I love like this turn their back on me and forsake me.

Of course, you know, at this point, I'm just kind of listening, trying to be his friend. He came back to me, he said, that's greater to me than a child, I think, one of my children dying. He says, to have somebody that I've given my life to just stab me in the back.

He said, came back to me a couple weeks later, he said, I was wrong. He said, God helped me see that the greatest pain that I would ever experience is being separated from him. And God used this to bring me back to himself.

He says that I still want my wife to come back. He said, but if she never comes back to me, and this is what God had to do in order to get my attention to be reconciled to him, I will one day call this the greatest blessing that God ever gave. Whatever pain you're going through, the richest of all possessions is to be reconciled to God through Christ. I may or may not be able to give you physical healing. But see, though your sins are a scarlet, Jesus can make them light as snow, and I can give you that.

Though you're dead in your trespasses of sin, he can make you alive to God in Jesus Christ. I may not be able to give you that perfect relationship. Maybe, maybe we can, but I may or may not be able to give you that spouse.

So maybe you're like, well, I'm lonely, if I just had a spouse, I'd be happy. I may or may not be able to give you that, but what I can point you to is that great love, which will never leave you or forsake you. That says, when you walk through the valley of the shadow and death, I will go with you.

When you pass through the fire, you're not gonna be burned. When you walk through the waters, it's not gonna overcome you, because I've engraved you on my hand. I may or may not be able to give you riches. I may or might be able to lead you to great money, but I can give you an inheritance incorruptible that'll never be taken away that's greater than money. I may not be able to stop your physical death, but you know what?

You are buried with him by baptism into death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so you too also will walk in newness of life, and those who live and believe in him will never truly die. And see, I just feel like that's greater than silver and gold, and I feel like that's greater than physical healing. Do you want that kind of healing? Do you want it? See, in the same way, I'm reaching out my hand to you like Peter did.

Every service, that's what happened. We reach out our hand and say, do you want it? Do you want it? You just take Jesus's hand, and the healing is given. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. We hope you've been enjoying today's teaching and that it's been an encouragement in your daily walk with God. Before we continue, I want to remind you about a daily resource that can also help you stay connected to God's Word throughout the week. Our daily email devotionals, written by Pastor J.D., offer insightful reflections on the Bible and practical applications for your life. Each day's devotional corresponds to our current teaching series, so you can stay plugged into the themes and ideas we explore here on the program each day.

To go sign up, simply visit jdgreer.com slash resources and enter your email address. Thank you so much for your support that makes this resource and the rest of Summit Life possible. In fact, our website is full of free resources meant to help you and others grow in their walk with God. Now let's get back to today's teaching with Pastor J.D. Greer here on Summit Life.

And lastly, it points downward in the direction that we're supposed to go in our mission. You think Peter and John got rewarded for this miracle? In fact, can I give you a little bad news from Acts, in the movie for a little bad news? The miracles in Acts always get the miracle worker in trouble. Peter and John heal this guy, they end up in prison. That's different than other hero stories that we like to tell, right?

Marvel, you know, if you're going to tell a Marvel story, when someone in our hero stories get superpowers, their powers typically make them invincible. But when God gives you power, it makes you vulnerable. As power comes into you, you start to suffer. In order to relieve this man's suffering, the apostles had to suffer themselves. He got healed, he got the blessing, they got put into prison. Same was true of Jesus' ministry, was it not? In fact, the law of probably the clearest example of this is John chapter 11, when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Have you ever noticed that John points out it was at that very hour that the Pharisees plotted to kill him? You know what he's showing you? In order to get Lazarus out of the grave, Jesus had to put himself in.

You know what we call that? Substitution. When Jesus did a miracle, here's how one account says it, he's walking along, lady grabs him of his garment, and the power goes out from him.

Why is it phrased that way? See, it had to leave him. The power in him has to leave him in order for her to be healed. One voluntarily suffering so that another lives.

Substitution. Jesus poured out his life so that we can be saved. Peter and John go to prison so this guy can walk. Healing for the world comes as life and power and money and opportunity go out from us. We are supposed to pour out our money and power and opportunity in genuine sacrifice. We enter into other people's pain, burying it, absorbing it if we can, and they are healed through that. In fact, this is a great spiritual truth that if you will learn this, it would explain so much in your life. The healing of the world comes through the sacrificial death of the church. God brings people around you into life the same way he brought life to you. Jesus' life went out from him and you were saved. As life and money and power go out from you, they will be saved. You see, there's somebody that you need to forgive, and in order for you to forgive them, it's gonna cost you. It's gonna be like ripping out a piece of your soul, but that's gonna be the means by which God brings life maybe to that person, maybe to their family, maybe to your family, because life only comes through death.

Right? Your suffering becomes a way that other people see the beauty of God in you, because they start to see that your suffering shows that you can have a joy that is not dependent on physical healing. You can have a joy that's not dependent on riches. You can have a joy that's not dependent on a good marital situation. You have a joy that goes deeper and better and broader than those things. It's a joy found in knowing God. And sometimes that shows people the beauty of God in a way they couldn't see it any other way. And so, yes, God allows you to suffer, and it's not because you did something wrong.

It's because God is pointing you to the cross and saying, as you suffer, other people will live, so you're gonna suffer so that they can see the beauty of who I am. Right? So that's the meaning of this miracle.

Four different things. All the miracles are gonna be like this. It points upward to God's authentication of Jesus. It points forward to the coming restoration. It points inward to the inward healing that we all need.

And then it points downward to the mission that we're all supposed to be about, using what we just learned. Let me answer a handful of questions I gotta get about healing, all based on those principles there. A, does God still heal today? Yes, he does.

There is nothing in the Bible, not one word, that indicates that he has stopped. Letter B, why does God heal? Let me do five things.

Jot these down really quickly if you're taking notes. As an act of love and mercy to the person who's suffering, because God's a daddy. And when his children suffer, he hurts. In John 11, when Lazarus dies, he's the first one at the grave weeping.

And he's like that with your pain. So sometimes God heals just as an act of love and mercy to the person who's suffering. Number two, sometimes it's a validation of his servants.

Sometimes it's a validation of his servants. Number three, a sign of the coming kingdom of God. Number four is a witness to non-Christians, sometimes as a warning to them to pay attention to Jesus, and sometimes as an invitation for them to come home to him. Number five, to motivate Christians to worship. Those are five reasons that God heals. They're all equally valid. They're all God may do one or another of them in a physical healing. Now let me say something real quick. Does that mean if you believe that God still heals that you have to believe every time you hear somebody else's miracle report?

No. God never made me the referee of other people's miracle stories, and I'm glad for that. You don't have to be either. So I just believe that God does miracles. Sometimes I feel like I can't deny them.

Sometimes I just reserve judgment. I'm like, well, I'm glad you believe that was a miracle. You know, I'm going to rejoice in what you think God did. But you don't have to necessarily believe everything everybody tells you. For those of you that need to hear that, let you have ears to hear.

Let her see, okay? Should healings like the one in Acts 3 be our everyday expectation? As much as I want to say a flat yes to that, because God can do anything, and as I mentioned before, there is not a word of scripture that indicates He has stopped.

As much as I want to say just a flat yes to that, I also want to help you be realistic. So let me point you to a couple things that a cautious, alert, studious Bible student will notice about this miracle. First of all, did you notice that Peter in this story heals on demand? He didn't even ask God for it.

He's like, hey, you get up. As you go through the book of Acts, you will find that level of power and intensity among the apostles fading even throughout Acts. 2 Timothy 4-12, the last letter that Paul wrote, Paul puts this little verse in there, Trophimus, who's a buddy of his, who's traveling with him, I left at Miletus sick. Remember the verse that we looked at in Hebrews from point one?

You've got to think about this. Hebrews 2 verse 3, our great salvation was declared at first by the Lord, then attested to us by those who heard, meaning the apostles, God also bearing witness by signs and wonders and marriages and miracles by the gift of the Holy Spirit. During this season in Acts, God gave an unusually heavy endowment of power for a time to authenticate the fact that He was speaking these words to the apostles and to authenticate this new message.

Now, that does not mean He doesn't ever do these things anymore. He most certainly does, and I've experienced some of those things, just that we should not expect them to be as regular or normative all the time like they were in Acts because that was, by any estimation, a very unique time. I would suggest you be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, that you offer to pray for people that are being physically healed, but recognize that there was a unique period in history where God, Hebrews says, was authenticating a new message by these special signs and wonders. Letter D, should hope of supernatural healing ever replace normal medical procedures? Never.

Never. In fact, here's a little interesting tidbit. The guy who wrote these words in Acts, your author's name was Luke. You know what Luke's job was? He was a doctor. So Paul traveled, because he was Paul's traveling companion, Paul traveled with a medical doctor. Whenever I pray for people that are sick, I almost always pray two things, at least two things. I'm like, one, God healed him. Do it either through a natural means by giving the doctors wisdom, or do it through supernatural means by just doing what befuddles the doctors, because maybe the doctors need to know Jesus, right? And I pray that God will help them see what he wants them to know through their suffering, but I always pray for both, and you should never, ever, ever, ever use a hope for supernatural healing as an excuse to avoid the natural cures, because God gave us brains, and he gave us science, and he gave us medicine, right? And he's in that healing process too.

Let her eat. Will everybody who prays in faith receive healing? Yes and no. Eventually yes, because the day is coming when God will restore all things, when the dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible, when there will be no more disease or pain or crying, and God will wipe away every tear.

So yes, in the long term, but in the short term, no. God, you see, sometimes has bigger purposes on earth than giving us physical healing. Sometimes he allows us to know him better through the pain we experience in this life. Sometimes he uses that pain to bring life to others like I explained to you. I know it's severe for you, and I'm not trying to downplay that at all, but if you could see the greatness of the gift that God has given in Christ, there is not a suffering moment on life that you would not see as trifling compared to the glory of what God has given us.

Maybe you should write that down. How much you believe the gospel is measured by your ability to be joyful in all things, and put in parentheses, especially pain. How much you understand the gospel is demonstrated by your ability to be joyful in pain?

Thank you. Letter F. What part of the church's mission should be focused on healing? What part of the church's mission should be focused on healing? All of it.

All of it. This is what we do. It's what they did, which brings us back to where we started this message. We've been tight cast as the antagonist of progress. What we should be known for is the healers of our city. Yes, as faithful witnesses, we must warn, and we've got to preach unpopular messages, and sometimes you're going to write editorials about us, and I'm going to get hate mail on your behalf. I realize that, but all that should be done in the midst of massive outpourings of love and healing. Like I told you before, our community ought to say about us, we may not believe what those crazy people at the Summit Church believe, but thank God they're here, because otherwise, we'd have to raise our taxes in the city.

N.T. Wright says it this way. He says, the message of the gospel is much more believable when it is demonstrated simultaneous to preaching it in physical acts, the healing, the world that it is looking to create. The message becomes believable when we're proclaiming Jesus' love and sacrifice and healing with our mouth, but then we're demonstrating it in tangible ways through how we love and serve and bring healing to others. We do these things because it's about the message, so that's where I'll close. Are you listening to the message?

Are you listening to the message? You see, all these things are there to point you to the fact that Jesus Christ loved you so much that he came to earth to die for your sin. He took upon himself what you could never pay. He paid for your sin by becoming sin for you.

He emptied himself so that he would suffer an eternity of hell on the cross in your place, and then he resurrected from the dead to put your life back together, to restore you to God. It's all about that. Have you listened to him? Have you ignored him?

Have you written him off as somebody you're going to get to when you're older and you're, you know, then you'll start thinking about that stuff. He says, repent, because every person who does not listen to this prophet will be cut off from among the people. It's all about the message. Have you listened to him? Don't put off Jesus any longer. He is real, and all he wants is your heart. You're listening to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of pastor, author, and apologist J.D.

Greer. We're so glad that you joined us. Okay, so Pastor J.D., why did you write your latest book? Twelve Truths and a Lie, answers to life's biggest questions. Well, I know it won't surprise you, Molly, but I get asked a lot of questions as a pastor, and I just began to notice that there were some that just kept being asked over and over, and we said, well, what if we just took those and put them in a book and made it as a resource? I hope it's a help to you in understanding and feeling more confident in your faith, and also enabling you to be able to reach out to people who have these same questions. Maybe they're people in your family, or maybe it's your neighbor. You know, it's really helpful to index.

You can just look up the question. Why is it that bad things happen to seemingly innocent people? Why is it that the Christian life often feels hard? Why does God seem to care so much about my sexuality?

How do you reconcile some of the stories in the Old Testament with the God of love? You can go and request a copy of that and a discussion guide we've made available to go along with it, exclusive for our Summit Life audience. You can do that just by reaching out to us, donating, helping support the ministry here at Summit Life.

You can just go to my website and you can do that today. I'm Molly Vitovich. Join us tomorrow when Pastor JD teaches about what seems like a contradictory statement, but we'll learn what it means to have an inclusive exclusivity. That's Friday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-18 12:06:41 / 2024-04-18 12:18:02 / 11

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