Title:  Signs, Wonders, and Miracles – Introduction  


Summary:  Miracles are a less common type of God's activity in the world to arouse awe and wonder and to bear witness to himself in order to arouse faith for the willing.  The miracles of Christ are now a matter of record, therefore the ball is in our court as to whether we reject him in skepticism, or accept him in faith.


Text:  Various


Scripture Reading:  Jn 2:18-22



1.  Have you ever experienced a miracle?

2.  ILL:  Jeremy before he was born, supposed to have severe abnormalities

          a.  We were broken hearted

          b.  Shared with the church, they all had been praying

          c.  Specialist later said he was dumbfounded, it went away

3.  Definitely God's answer, but not in same category as miracles of Christ

4.  Start a new series on the miracles of Christ - Will start by defining a miracle - It is a less common type of God's activity in the world to arouse awe and wonder and to bear witness to himself in order to arouse faith for the willing.


I.  A Miracle is God's Activity in the world

          A.  Some people have difficulty with this

                    1.  Not everyone accepts the reality of miracles as God's activity

                    2.  Some attribute them to something other than God

                    3.  Some reject them all together

          B.  ILL: C.S. Lewis writes about meeting a woman who saw a ghost

                    1.  Problem - She did not believe in existence of immortal soul

                    2.  She STILL does not believe in existence of immortal soul

                    3.  Her conclusion - It must have been an illusion

          C.  Demonstrates that reality of miracles is not settled by experience alone

                    1.  "…the question of whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience.  Every even which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen, something heard, touched, smelled, or tasted.  And out senses our not infallible.  If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victim of an illusion.  If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we shall always say.  What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to that experience.  It is therefore useless to appeal to experience before we have settled, as well as we can, the philosophical question" - C.S. Lewis, Miracles.

                    2.  The philosophy he refers to is naturalism

                              a.  It is promoted in the sciences as fact

                              b.  But  science neither prove nor disprove supernatural

                              c.  Science deals with the natural, supernatural in a different

     category altogether and is beyond science

                              d.  Like saying I am going to measure light with sound meter

                    3.  The issue is not science vs. religion, but philosophy of

      naturalism vs. philosophy of supernaturalism

                              a.  Naturalism says nothing exists beyond nature

                                        - There is not higher power, no God

                                        - No overarching purpose, morality

                                        - Life is a random cosmic accident, you are chemicals

                                        - A very narrow view of life

                              b.  Supernaturalism says there are unseen realities

                                        - There is a deeper reality than what we see

                                        - For Christians, we are God's creation

                                        - Purpose, meaning, right, wrong, etc. from God

                                        - Much more wider view of life

                              c.  Issue is not that you have perceived a supernatural act,

     but to what do you attribute it?

          - Naturalism - It is an illusion

          - Supernaturalism - It is supernatural

          - Christian supernaturalism - It is of God

                    4.  Example:  Mk 3:22-27 - Jesus cast out a demon

                              a.  Unusual supernatural event took place at hands of Christ

                              b.  Could not deny it

                              c.  But, Pharisees refused to accept it, attributed it to

     Beelzebul, ruler of the demons

                              d.  Today, people attribute Christ's miracles to illusion or


          D.  What God calls for is faith & hope based on reasonable evidence

                    1.  Bible tells us this

                              a. 2 Cor 4:18 - We look not at the things which are seen, but

     the things which are not seen, for the things which are

     seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are


b. 2 Cor 5:7 - We walk by faith, not by sight (we look forward

     for what we do not yet see)

                              c.  Heb 11:1 - Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the

      conviction of things not seen

                              d.  Heb 11:6 - Without faith it is impossible to please him

                    2.  We do things on faith all the time

                              a.  Place money in the bank, get married, swing on a swing

                              b.  We have faith it will work, usually based on evidence

                    3.  Skeptic would never do this

                              a.  No amount of evidence is usually good enough

                              b.  Makes a conscious decision to doubt everything

                    4.  But God has given reasonable evidence

                              a.  Not just through his creation which declares his glory

                              b.  Also through his intervention through miracles


II.  It is a less common type of God's activity

          A.  This part of definition takes into account God's providence

          B.  Inadequate definition:  God's interruption of the natural flow of nature

      and events, setting aside law of nature, intervening

                    1.  Why are definitions like this inadequate?

                              a.  Assumes the Universe operates independent of God

                              b.  Assumes God rarely involved, universe is closed system

                              c.  This definition assumes a sort of deism

                    2.  Bible does not have this view of God or universe

                              a.  We think of God's actions as being fantastic

                                        - Ex 7-12 - 10 Plagues of Egypt

                                        - Josh 10:12-14 - Joshua's long day

                                        - 2 Kng 20:9-11 - Time going backwards for Hezekiah

                                        - 1 Kng 17 - Raising son of widow of Zarapeth

                              b.  But God also works in less dramatic ways

                                        - Gen 45:5 - Joseph sold into slavery by his brother,

   he told them - "God sent me before you to preserve


- Josh 11:19-20 There was not a city which made

peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle.  For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts

- Judg 14:1-4 Then Samson went down to Timnah

and saw a woman in Timnah, {one} of the daughters of the Philistines.  So he came back and told his father and mother, "I saw a woman in Timnah, {one} of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife."  Then his father and his mother said to him, "Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she looks good to me."However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD,

- Ezra 1:1-3 "…the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus

king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:  "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  'Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the LORD,

                                        - Judas betraying Jesus - This was God's plan,

Mk 10:33-34 - "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill {Him,} and three days later He will rise again."

                              c.  God works in mundane ways

                                        - Mt 5:45 - He causes His sun to rise on the evil and

   the good,

                                        - Ps 104:14 - He causes the grass to grow for the

cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth,

- Zech 10:1 - Ask rain from the LORD at the time of

the spring rain-- The LORD who makes the storm clouds; And He will give them showers of rain, vegetation in the field to {each} man.

                              d.  God is involved in all things

                                        - Col 1:17 - In him all things hold together

                                        - Heb 1:3 - He upholds all things by the word of his


3.  Nothing works without God's involvement

          a.  Electrons would not move

          b.  Gravity would not pull

          c.  Nothing could exist or work without God

          d.  God is involved everywhere every time in some way

          C.  ILL:  Leonard Allen and Danny Swick write in Participating in God's Life

                    1.  Modern view is that universe is close system, that it runs itself,

and the periodically God interrupts or intervenes, which is called a miracle

                    2.  "…the Bible does not view things in this way at all.  The biblical

writers assume that God is at work in all of this history.  Some stories tell of dramatic divine activity, God's wonders: bushes burn unconsumed, seas get parted, lepers get healed, apostles get freed from prison.  In many other biblical stories, no such wonders occur.  But God is seen as just as much at work.  The biblical writers seem little concerned to distinguish or reflect on the different modes of God's activity.  For them, God is everywhere at work in the world, occasionally in notably dramatic ways and often through the more usual means of circumstance and human action."

          D.  So miracles are an uncommon type of God's action

                    1.  Not to say that God is not always involved

                    2.  If God is not involved, then why would we pray to God?

                    3.  As God proved through our son Jeremy, God is involved

                    4.  God's involvement in miraculous ways is to get response . . .


III.  To arouse awe, wonder, and bear witness to himself

          A.  Bible calls them signs, wonders, miracles (attesting miracles)

          B.  Can seen these purposes at work in Christ and apostles

                    1.  To bear witness to the authenticity of the message

                              a.  Jn 3:2 - Nicodemus - we know that You have come from

God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.

                              b.  Acts 8:6 The crowds with one accord were giving

attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing.

                              c.  Heb 2:3-4 how will we escape if we neglect so great a

salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

                    2.  To show the Kingdom had come

a.  Matt 4:23 & 9:35 - Jesus was going throughout all

Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

b.  Matt 12:28 "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God,

     then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

                    3.  To demonstrate his authority & identity

                              a.  Mark 1:27 They were all amazed, so that they debated

among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him."

                              b.  Mark 2:10-11 "But so that you may know that the Son of

Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--He *said to the paralytic, "I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home."

c.  John 10:38 though you do not believe Me, believe the

     works, so that you may know and understand that the

     Father is in Me, and I in the Father."

                    4.  To help those in bondage and in need

a.  Matt 20:34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their 

     eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and

     followed Him.

b.  Matt 14:14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd,

     and felt compassion for them and healed their sick

                    5.  To teach important truths

                              a.  Often called "signs" - they point to a truth

                              b.  Signs often had deeper meaning

                              c.  Without Jesus' interpretation & teaching, meaning of

     many of these signs might have been ambiguous

                                        - Some thought Jesus political or national liberator

                                        - Some thought Jesus a Sabbath breaker

                              d.  Jesus often attached deeper message to a miracle

          C.  Not just that he did a miracle, but also what meaning is behind the


          D.  We will be looking at some of these


IV.  To arouse faith in the willing

          A.  I say willing because no amount of evidence convinces a skeptic

          B.  Ultimately it is about accepting Jesus as with uncompromising faith

      based on testimony of the Bible

                    1.   (Jn 2:23-25) Jesus had been performing signs, many believed

                              a.  But Jesus not entrusting himself to them

                              b.  Get idea it was superficial, curiosity, short-lived

                              c.  Signs did not automatically produce faith

                    2.  (Jn 20:24-29)

                              a.  Thomas wanted to see with own eyes, touch with hands

                              b.  Jesus indicates that excusing unbelief due to not

      personally witnessing signs is misguided

                    3.  (Jn 20"30-31) Reading without seeing is enough

          C.  ILL:  Mt 13:38-40, Jesus cast out a demon, demonstrate his identity as

      Messiah, then the scribes and Pharisees ask for a sign!

                    1.  They didn't want a sign, it was an excuse. 

2.  They always saying, "prove it," but never accepted evidence

3.  Once you prove something, not have to keep proving it

          a.  In court of law, if prove not guilty, it a matter of record

          b.  Not have to go through it again and again

4.  Jesus, his identity, ministry, all a matter of record - in scripture

          D.  Question is, will you accept it or reject it?



1.  Question - What will you do now?

2.  Scripture Reading Jn 2:18-22, reminded us of greatest sign, his resurrection

          a.  Overcame sin and death, our universal problem

          b.  All have sinned

          c.  If you say you not sin, you just sinned because you lied

          d.  Sin brings separation from God and ultimately lost in Hell

3.  Jesus provides a way because he is Son of God, proved by signs (inv)