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March 15, 2022 8:00 am
God from the beginning, used signs and wonders, but he was using them for a purpose.
They were not in the end in themselves as were going to see it wasn't simply showing power in order to show that they could do something cool the Lord's apostles racket was they healed people and much more. The Bible details the sign gifts and a study of helps us gain important perspective. Pastor John Green will lead us in just such a study today as he continues teaching God's people. God's word here on the truth I feel right and we are continuing a series titled the Holy Spirit today done what's in store for us will bill one of the things we've tried to do on the truth. Paul put in the years of the Lord is given us his program is to establish the principle that all spiritual understanding starts with Scripture, and that is so especially important with the matter assigned gifts before you can understand the role of gifts today. It's rather obvious that you need to start with Scripture what the Scriptures say about that's what were going to look at as we study God's word together today on the truthful. Thanks Don and Fred. Let's get started right now in the truthful now. Last time we spoke about the nature of the apostolic office.
The apostles, the 12 apostles plus Paul were a gift to the church. They were the foundation of the New Testament church. They were the chosen representatives who had the the exclusive legal authority to represent Christ to receive revelation from him and to communicate it to men and to communicate it to the church. They were personally chosen by Jesus. We said they were eyewitnesses of the resurrection, and their ministry was accompanied by signs and wonders and all three of those qualifications were present. The absence of anyone disqualified a man from being an apostle. One of the things one of the conclusions that we drew from that is, is that there are no apostles today and there have not been any apostle since the first century churches that claim apostolic authority notwithstanding, it is obvious from biblical testimony that the gift of apostles ceased that the apostles were a unique group of man given to provide a foundation to the church and everything builds on that since then not a continuing office not new apostles with each passing generation know they were select limited group that Jesus personally chose to be his unique representatives in the dispensing of Revelation.
Now the signs that the apostles did which we looked at in some degree last time the signs attested to their authenticity. The signs that the apostles performed showed that they were true messengers of God because the signs were an outside intervention into the natural order to show that there was something supernatural going on that could be explained by no other means. And these signs that the apostles did that we looked at last time.
Here's what I want you to see for today and this is so very helpful.
That's why were talking about it. The signs that the apostles did were in keeping with. They followed the biblical pattern that God had established over the prior 1500 years when there was not a completed canon for people to know the revelation of God by God from the beginning, used signs and wonders, but he was using them for a purpose.
They were not in the end in themselves as were going to see it wasn't simply showing power in order to show that they could do something cool that they could do something powerful because they wanted to. The signs were a means mark this to a far more important in the signs were a stamp of authenticity that these men were actually truly rightly speaking for God in a way that no one else could do that was the biblical pattern.
This was the manner in which God established to his spokesman were in biblical times. Think about it with me. Beloved anyone can stand up and speak the words I'm speaking for God. Anybody could stand up and say that if they wanted to what the problem is for those who hear them is how do we know that you are truly speaking for God. How do we know that you're not one of the many false prophets that have gone out into the world. How can we distinguish you from false ones. If your claim is true, stated in a different way. The people of God needed to verify that a man of God was the real thing and not an imposter, not a satanic substitute, not someone wearing a mask behind which was a demon, not someone who was wearing the clothing of a shape when inside he was actually a wolf.
How in biblical times, as distinct from today. How in biblical times was that established well what we find is that God used miracles. He used signs that attested to the authenticity of his spokesman that they were the real thing that they came from the true and living God, that they were not an imposter.
There's four sections to today's message.
What were going to do it. The starters were going to look quickly at the Old Testament pattern and the New Testament pattern and you're going to see this idea of attestation. This stamp of authenticity being emphasized repeatedly through the news segments of Revelation is God was progressively unfolding his will for his people. Let's look first of all, at the Old Testament pattern. The Old Testament pattern, and you may remember, we won't turn there for now you may remember that at the start when God sent Moses to the people of Israel in Egypt.
They did not receive him. They were not too keen to have this man as their leader.
In fact, in Exodus chapter 2 verse 14 they made this piercing question central to Moses at at the start of his ministry. They said you made you a prince or judge over us who made you our leader now and you can see built-in to that question.
Although they were saying it in a skeptical unbelieving way you can see that there was a real issue that needed to be settled. Who is the real leader for God. That is, that's at stake, who is the one who truly speaks for God in such a way that his words carry the authority of God that his words must be believed and be obeyed. How do you know who is speaking for God in that way. Well, when the time came for Moses to lead the people of Israel. God set his seal on him in an unmistakable way. Look at Exodus chapter 4 Exodus chapter 4 as we come into some of these texts.
Now, and as we do that. I just encourage you to remember that were laying a foundation so that we can say. Still other things in the future. This sets the context for what we want to say next and the following week. So these things are interlocked together, but it's my conviction.
It is my it is my assessment that what were dealing with in these issues of signs, miracles, tongs, prophecies, private voices from God.
We are dealing with one of the most critical threats to the people of God in the 21st century. Arguably, the greatest threat and therefore being having a measure of responsibility for you know the oversight here in the teaching here. I don't want to rush through this. I want to treat this carefully so that you are guarded going forward from things that would lead you astray from things that would lead you away from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ from those things that would spin you off into deception. I'm not willing to rush through something that can protect you from that lethal outcome. That's why were spending the time on this and so I just beg your indulgence and I beg your patience as we go through these things because this is all for the upbuilding and the well-being of your eternal soul that we do these things and you know these things been on my mind for well over a year and finally I'm getting to them to share them with you in Exodus chapter 4 verse one Moses said what if they will not believe me or listen to what I say, for they may say the Lord has not appeared to you see the issue there. Moses recognized it.
Also, God, what if they don't believe me, I I say these words, what if they don't believe what if they don't obey. This is a real problem.
What is the ad test station that I am truly your spokesman going to be in the Lord answered him and he's said to them in verse two. What is that in your hand, and he said a staff then he said throw it on the ground so I threw it on the ground and it became a serpent and Moses fled from it, which is probably what I would have done.
Also, I do not like snakes. Verse four but the Lord said to Moses, stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail, so he stretched out his hand and caught it and it became a staff in his hand a pause therefore moment this this is supernatural to take an inanimate staff throw it on the ground and have it become a living serpent and then you reach out and you grab and and it's back to an inanimate object again from inanimate to animate from staff to snake and back again. What's the purpose of that what is that supposed to do, what does that accomplish verse five. Here we see the principal introduced that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you. It wasn't simply that Moses was given a cool lightsaber to throw around in the battle. People with on a movie set. It wasn't just that he was given this cool trick to do it had a purpose to it. It was an authenticating mark to show that God had truly appeared to him and that the people were to believe and obey him. They were to listen to what he said, as shown by the miraculous sign that accompanied him as he spoke. That's the idea that's what's so critical here now. You'll see this repeated in a different round to a different audience in Exodus chapter 6 verse 28 Exodus 6 verse 28 Moses of course had to go to the Pharaoh and say let my people go. Now, on what basis is, is the, the greatest king of that era. The leader of the greatest nation. If I'm Pharaoh. If you're Pharaoh and guy comes up and says let all these millions of people go out of your country that's performing a great labor force work for you. Why should I do what you tell me to do by what right do you, and assert authority over my kingdom. That's the right and proper natural reasonable thing to say in Exodus chapter 6 verse 28 now it came about on the day when the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, that the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, I am the Lord speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt.
All that I speak to you, but Moses said before the Lord. Behold, I am unskilled and speech. How then will Pharaoh listen to me the same problem the same issue accompanying whether the people of Israel Woodley it listen to him or not. Now comes up with a different audience in chapter 7 verse one then the Lord said to Moses, see I make you as God to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land, but I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that I may multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. When Pharaoh does not listen to you. Verse four.
Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring out my host my people, the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt by great judgments by great judgments and here it is with verse five. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst and 10 great miracles followed that culminated by the death of the firstborn in throughout the land of Egypt. Point being, this those multiplied signs, verified Moses. They authenticated him as being the true spokesman of God.
Moses says Lord, how will he believe him, unskilled, and speech. God says I will supply to you miraculous signs and wonders that no one else can do so. The Egyptians imitated some of them, but there were things that the Egyptian magicians could not replicate indicating that Moses had a unique authority that God was with him in such a way that his words were to be believed and obeyed Old Testament pattern now. Later on God. Centuries later, God used a miracle to authenticate the ministry of the prophet Elijah. Look at first Kings chapter 18 first Kings chapter 18 you'll remember this is one of the great historic events in the Old Testament, first Kings chapter 18 verse 36. Remember were laying a groundwork for things to be said later first Kings 18 verse 36 Elijah was facing a different audience a hostile audience. He was dealing with the competing claims of the prophets of bail. In verse 36 at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, oh Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel today. Let it be known that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant, and I have done all these things at your word you see it he saying God authenticate me vindicate my claim vindicate my office as a true prophet of God.
God show by your power that you are with me and that what I that I am speaking by divine authority by divine right.
By divine appointment. Verse 37. Answer me oh Lord answered me that here it is again, that this people may know that you oh Lord our God, and that you have turned their heart back again God do this, not simply for my sake doing so the people will know that they will see and understand that they will have reason to believe the words that I say and then verse 38 we didn't review all of the things went up as the prophets of bail tried to call down fire from their God, and nothing happened.
Elijah, you remember, put the fire on poured water on it again and again and now after that Elijah prayed as we just read, then what happened in verse 38 then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering in the wood and the stones in the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench verse 39 when all the people sought, they fell on their faces and they said the Lord he is God, the Lord he is God and then Elijah said to them, sees the prophets of bail. Do not let one of them escape, so they sees them and Elijah brought them down to the brook brick kiss Sean and salute them there.
Elijah says God there's a dispute here about who's really speaking for you who the true God is do something act in a way that will show that I am the true spokesman and that my words come from you, God miraculously since fire to consume a water laden sacrifice, thereby vindicating Elijah's claim to be a true prophet. This is the pattern. The signs were given to authenticate the true spokesman of God. Now this is the pattern that's established and it's carried over into point number two it's carried over into the New Testament pattern as well. The New Testament pattern as well. As you know, as you read the four Gospels Matthew Mark Luke and John. Jesus repeatedly performed spectacular miracles throughout the course of his ministry he raised Lazarus from the dead.
He walked on water, he cast out demons, he healed the sick, he multiplied bread and fish to feed thousands with a with a portion of food that could barely feed one or two again and again and again.
He turned water to wine and on and on it goes well as Jesus was teaching as he was going about his ministry.
Here's what he did. He appealed repeatedly, as were going to see.
He appealed to those attesting miracles to authenticate his teaching to show that he was distinct from anyone else and that therefore his words were to be believed and to be obeyed.
This is the connection that we are to make the true miracles authenticated the true spokesman of God and because he was authenticated. His words were to be believed and to be obeyed in a way that was not true of others who falsely claimed to be speaking for God, look at John chapter 5 will look at the half dozen passages here in the Gospel of John, and if I don't forget will go to John chapter 22. Establish an important point as well. John chapter 5 verse 36 John chapter 5 verse 36 Jesus said to his audience, the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John, meaning the testimony John the Baptist look at what he says for the works which the father has given me to accomplish the very works that I do testify about me that the father has sent me. He says I'm doing miracles here that no one else has ever done and that no one else can do. He opened the eyes of men born blind heat because the lame to walk, simply by his spoken word he says. Look at those things and understand that they testify uniquely about me that the one true God has sent to me and therefore my words are to be believed and to be obeyed.
You are to respond to me in a way that you respond to no one else. Chapter 6 verse 14 turnover page scroll down a screen or two. Chapter 6. Remember that the feeding I alluded to it earlier. The feeding of the 5000 Jesus at the people down in verse 10 numbered about 5000. He took these lows distributed them. Likewise, the fish is much as they wanted when they were filled. He said to his disciples gather up the leftover fragments of the nothing will be lost. They gathered them out filled 12 baskets with fragments from five barley lows which were left over by those really after feeding thousands and thousands of people.
They still had more food left over than when they began. What did that do that was a sign that showed the unique authority of Jesus. The people saw verse 14 when the people saw the sign which he had performed. They said this is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world. The sign verified his words, the signs communicated gave the umbrella of authority. The works gave authority to the words chapter 7 verse 31 chapter 7 verse 31. Many of the crowd believed in him and why did they believe in him. They were saying when the Christ comes. He will not perform more signs and those which this man has will he expected answer is no, no one could come and exceed the signs which Christ had done. Therefore they believed in Christ in response. His words had validity had authority because they were tested by signs, which no man could do no man ever done that no man ever could do there was a uniqueness about his authority that set him apart that showed him to be truly unique son of God, no one else can do those things. A biblical history of sign gifts is the title of pastor Don Greene's message today here on the truth pulpit. Part 2 Comes Your Way. Next time as we continue our current series. The Holy Spirit today with us, then meanwhile, we invite you to visit our website.
The truth pulpit.com. There you can download free podcasts or find out how to receive free CD copies of Don series and if you want to go even more in depth. You'll also find the link follow Don's pulpit that will take you to Don's full-length weekly sermons not subject to the time editing we need for radio broadcasts and if you're in the Cincinnati area, check out the service times for truth Community Church. Also on our website and plan a visit with love well again that's all the truth. Pulpit.com I built like inviting you back next time. As Don continues teaching God's people work on the truth