History of Holy Spirit-Purpose of Miracles

John

History of Holy Spirit-Purpose of Miracles

May 23rd, 1965 @ 8:15 AM

John 14:16

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
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THE PURPOSE OF MIRACLES

Dr. W. A. Criswell

John 14:16

5-23-65    8:15 a.m.

 

On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the morning message entitled The Purpose of Miracles.  Last Sunday we began what I have described as the most epochal of all of the eras and periods of my preaching ministry in which I have followed either the consecutive passages of Scripture through the Bible, or have followed certain great doctrinal themes.

And the theme that we are following in these days, and they will be many days, is “The Holy Spirit of God.”  And I have felt, as I studied and pored over these Scriptures, that as I continued, God would reveal His truth, whether now I understand it or not, that if I would study, and continue, and trust the Lord for it, that God would make known His truth to us.  And that persuasion and faith in the Lord is proving true.  I have in my heart now a persuasion, an understanding, of the work of the Holy Spirit in miracle that I think reflects the true purpose and meaning of God in working them; why they were done, why they are done, if they continue to be done.

Now as the background text, we are following the Word of the Lord in John 14:16, where our Savior said, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth,” the Holy Spirit. . .“for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” [John 14:16-17].  Now if this word of our Savior is true, the Holy Spirit has been with us for almost two thousand years; from the days of Pentecost, when He was poured out in His fullness [Acts 2:1-4], to this present hour, when He is present here in this assembly [1 Corinthians 3:16-17], and in our hearts [1 Corinthians 6:19-20].  Therefore I have taken it for granted; therefore, if the Holy Spirit of God has been here almost two thousand years, we can trace the history of His presence and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit for these two thousand years, and that is what we are doing.  We are now in the process of presenting the history of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit for these many centuries.

Now last Sunday morning, last Sunday morning, and I am stopping at something that is discussed last Sunday morning.  Last Sunday morning we followed the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the Christological and Holy Spirit controversies in the church that gave rise to the creeds.  That’s why the creed was written out, because of doctrinal conflict among the people of God.  So in those conflicting days––and we have them today and all through the centuries; these creeds were written out to spell out, to say in concise and precise language what the people of the Lord believed that God had revealed concerning these great doctrines.  Now, in our following that through the history of the church—I did not say this, I am recounting what I read in history.

All right, this is what I read in the books of history.  When the apostles died, when the apostles died, there was a great change in attitude on the part of the churches toward, first, any writing thereafter.  Anything that was written by an apostle was immediately received as inspired Scripture [2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21].  It was a revelation from God.  If John said, “I saw a vision,” the people of the Lord accepted it as a revelation from God.  If Paul said, “I saw a vision,” it was accepted as a revelation from God.  If Paul wrote a letter, it was kept as holy and inspired Scripture, and was copied, and was circulated among the churches.  But when the apostles died there was a vast change in attitude toward anything that was written or toward any vision that was seen.

That same thing carried over into the miraculous works of the apostles.  The history books say it, I do not say it—the history books say that when the apostles died, the apostolic miracles ceased.  They were not any more.  That’s what the history books say.  I do not say that, I did not say that.  That’s what the history books say, that when the apostles died, those marvelous wonders wrought by the apostles ceased to be.  Now what kind of wonders are we talking about when we say that the history books avow that when the apostles died, those marvelous miracles died with them?  All right, this is what the history book is talking about.  Now you look at these marvelous wonders.

In the second chapter of the Book of Acts it says that at Pentecost all of these Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Cappadocians, Pontians, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Libyans, Cyrenians, Romans, Jews, Cretes, Arabians, that all of those people heard in their own language the gospel of the Son of God preached [Acts 2:4-11].  Now do you see what that miracle is?  Here is a man who could only speak one tongue, Aramaic, and he’s standing up there and preaching the gospel to Parthians in their own language, or to Pontians, or Phrygians, or Egyptians, or Romans in their own language.  Now that’s a far cry from an unknown tongue.  Now you remember that.  These men, Judeans, are standing up there preaching the gospel in a national language that they had never heard, that they did not know, that they’d never spoken before.  It was a marvelous miracle! [Acts 2:4-11].

Well, I turn the page.  In the third chapter of the Book of Acts here, Simon Peter takes a man who was born crippled in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, and he takes him by the right hand and lifts him up.  Immediately he is marvelously healed [Acts 3:1-8].  I turn the page, and it says here that when Simon Peter passed by, that they brought forth the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches that the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them and they would be healed [Acts 5:15-16].  Just the shadow of Simon Peter falling on the sick made them well.

I turn the page.  Here in the ninth chapter of the Book of Acts; at Joppa there was a certain woman named Dorcas, and she died, and they washed her, and laid her in an upper chamber preparing her for burial.  And Peter arose and came, and he gave Dorcas his hand, and raised her up from the dead [Acts 9:36-41].  What a marvelous miracle!

I turn the page.  Here in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Acts, Simon Peter is in prison [Acts 12:3-5], and when he’s in prison, the chains fall off of his hands, and the iron doors of the prison open, and he walks out [Acts 12:6-10].  I turn the pages of the Book of Acts.  In the nineteenth chapter, from the body of the apostle Paul there were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs and aprons––artisans’ aprons, like a bricklayer would wear––there were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and when they were brought to the sick, diseases departed from the sick, and evil spirits went out from them [Acts 19:11-12].

And I turn the page of the Book of Acts.  In the nineteenth chapter here, in the twentieth chapter, Eutychus falls out of the window, and they pick him up for dead.  And Paul went down and raises him up and gives him back to those who love him, and his people are much comforted [Acts 20:9-12].  Now that’s what I’m talking about; those marvelous wonders wrought by the apostles.

Well, now following this history, now we’re just looking at the history of it.  Whatever you may think about it, this is what the history records, this is a chronology of it: in 150 AD there arose a man by the name of Montanus, in 150.  Now the disciples of the apostles were still alive in 150.  The pastor at Smyrna, Polycarp, was still alive.  The pastor at Hierapolis, Papias, was still alive.  Now, in 150 AD, there arose a man by the name of Montanus, and it was Montanus that precipitated this conflict in the church—for Montanus arose and he said, “All of the gifts of the apostles are reincarnated in me.”  And Montanus said, “As the writings of Paul supercede the writings of Moses, so what I say supercedes what Paul said and what the apostles said.”

And Montanus came and said, “I see visions, and I dream dreams, and I write scriptures, and I do marvelous works.”  And that precipitated in the churches a violent conflict.  And those churches back there, after 150 AD, said two things.  One: that there are no more Scriptures; the Scriptures are finished, and this Book is finished.  There are to be no more Scriptures.  Now I’m telling you what the history says: there are no more Scriptures.  And second: the churches back there said apostolic wonders have ceased.  That’s what the Scriptures—I mean, that’s what the history books said, that there are no more of these marvelous miracles of raising from the dead and all of those incomparable things that the apostles were able to do.  Now that’s what I was repeating, just what the history books say.

All right, here’s what happens.  Here is a typical letter.  “Dear Dr. Criswell, I listened to your program Sunday morning on television.”  Then the author of this letter denies that there was a cessation of apostolic miracles when the apostles died.  Then she gives the reason, and I quote now: “The reason I believe in the marvelous works, these miracles of the apostles, is because thousands of people are receiving those gifts today, with the initial sign of speaking in tongues.  I know because I have experienced it.”

Now what are you going to do with people who cannot see the difference between speaking in an unknown tongue and raising somebody from the dead?  We’re talking about an altogether different thing.  My dear friend, if you will show me anybody in the earth that can take a corrupting, decaying body and raise up that body from the dead as Jesus did, and as the apostles did, I will go down to the airline and buy a ticket anywhere in the world that you’ll point out to me a man who has that apostolic gift of raising the dead.  It ceased, the history books said.  The history books say that that miraculous power ceased when the apostles died.  And when Montanus came with all of those things, the conflict in the church resulted in those pronouncements.

Now I want to show you how in our day and in our generation there is a seeking on the part to restore in the minds of the people these marvelous miracles of the apostles.  And I want us to look at it.  All right, look.

In the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Acts, and verse 12, is this passage about the apostle Paul.  Now if you want to turn to it and look at it, do so.  Acts, the nineteenth chapter, and the twelfth verse: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out from them” [Acts 19:11-12].  So I receive through the mail a prayer cloth, and I open it.  And inside is a little piece of cloth that large, and I’m holding it here in my hand.  And this is the tract concerning the prayer cloth:

This was, and still is, God’s way of providing deliverance for those who for one reason or another cannot avail themselves of the laying on of hands.  Just as the woman who pressed through the mob to touch the hem of Christ’s garment was made whole the moment she touched the cloth, so when you touch this bit of cloth, believing as she did, your faith shall make you whole.  Receive thus in obedience and faith.  The effect as you place this cloth upon your body is the same as if Jesus Himself had laid His hands upon you and commanded you to be made whole.  For it is by the authority which He gave to me as a believer that as His agent, acting for Him in His absence, I—

and he calls his name—

now command, in Jesus’ name, every affliction, every infirmity, every unclean spirit or tormenting demon to flee from you, as you place this cloth either upon your forehead or upon the afflicted part.  This great ministry of faith is maintained by the free-will offerings of those desiring to join us in bringing deliverance to the suffering everywhere.  If you have my book, God’s Guarantee to Heal You, read through chapter 12.  God’s Guarantee to Heal You can be obtained by sending one dollar plus ten cents postage and handling to—

and he gives his name.

[Asa Alonso Allen, undated tract]

Now this is this, this man, says: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out from them” [Acts 19:11-12].

“Send me one dollar, send me one dollar plus ten cents postage for handling, and I will send you my book; and it will tell you how you can use this cloth and be healed.”

And that is supposed to be this.  All of which––don’t you wish you could go up and down the halls of Baylor Hospital or anywhere?  There’s something wrong here!  There’s something violently wrong here!  There is something viciously wrong here!  There is something wrong as the whole misunderstanding of the Word of God.  There is something wrong.  Well, what is it?

Well, I think God has said a very plain word to my soul, and you listen to it.  You listen to it.  Beside the creation, the marvels of the creation [Genesis 1:1-31]––and that ceased, there is no such thing as anything being created anymore; that ceased forever [Genesis 2:2].  A man can take what we have and remake it and put it together in different places, but he can’t create anything.  That miracle ceased in the beginning.

Now beside the miraculous things God did in the beginning, and beside the miraculous thing God is going to do in the consummation, beside the miracles of Genesis, and beside the miracles of Revelation, there are three great periods of miracles in the Bible.  One is when Moses introduced the legislation of the Law.  Second: in the days of the apostasy, when Elijah and Elisha came forth to champion the cause of Jehovah and to bring the people back to the Lord.  And third: in the days of Jesus and the apostles.  Those are the three great periods of the miraculous demonstration of the marvelous works of God.

Now, when I studied those three periods, I found one thing in common with all three.  Now you look at it.  When I read this, when I point it out to you, it’ll be very apparent, you’ll see it too.  There is one thing that is in common with all three of these marvelous, miraculous periods of the works of God.  It is this, all right now, look.  In the fourth chapter of the Book of Exodus, you have the first period, the first introduction:

And Moses said to God, Now Lord, when I go down there into Egypt, they will not believe me, and they will not receive me.

So the Lord said unto him, What do you have in your hand?

He said, A rod.

Cast it down, said the Lord, and it was a snake.

And Moses fled from it.  And then the Lord said, Take it, and take it by the tail.

[from Exodus 4:1-4]

See, the Lord is smart too, “Take it by the tail.  Take it by the tail.  And Moses put forth his hand and caught it, and it became a rod again.”  All right, now the purpose, “That they may believe,” that, that, that, “that they may believe, that the Lord God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, hath appeared unto thee, and that I sent you” [Exodus 4:5].  A miracle is never wrought just for the sake of the miracle or the sign; but wherever it appears, it has the purpose of authentication, “This is My servant … That they may believe that the Lord sent thee.”  Then He gave him another one:

Now you put your hand in your bosom.  And he put his hand in his bosom, and took it out, and it was leprous.

Now put it back in your bosom.  And he put it back in his bosom, took it out, and it was whole again.

That they may believe the voice of this second sign.

And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe these two signs, that thou shalt take water, and put it on the land, and it will turn to blood; that they may believe that thou art My servant, and I have sent you to do this thing.

[from Exodus 4:6-9]

The purpose of a miracle is authentication.

All right, look at it again.  The second period is in the days of Elijah and Elisha.  And Elijah’s on top of Mt. Carmel, and he’s got that altar before him, covered with water:

And it came to pass at the time of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done these things at Thy Word.

Hear me, O Lord, hear me that this people may believe, and their hearts turn back again.

[1 Kings 18:36-37]

Always the purpose of a miracle is an authentication; that, that, that, that!

All right, now let’s take it again in the third period, which is in the life of our Lord.  And John the Baptist sends to Jesus, and he says, “Lord, Lord, art Thou the One that should come, or are we to look for another one?”  And Jesus said, “Now you go and show John the blind receive their sight, the lame walks, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up [Matthew 11:2-5].  These are signs!” says Jesus.

Now, you will find in the whole Gospel of John the word “miracle” never used.  John universally, without exception, uses the word sēmeion, “sign.”  These things that Jesus did were signs!  They were authentications, they were pointings out from heaven, “This is My Son!”

And John writes, “And many other signs, sēmeion, many other signs,” plural, “truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that,” there’s that same thing again, “that, this thing is done that, Lord do this that, in order to, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” [John 20:30-31].  The purpose of the miracle was an authentication.  It was a sign in order that.

Now let’s look at this thing for just a moment: I believe, as you do, that God is the same yesterday, and today, and forever [Hebrews 13:8].  And God is not limited; He can do anything, anyhow, anywhere.  God can do it.  He is able to raise the dead, the corrupting body, today, as He did in the days of our Lord [John 11:43-44], or as He did in the days of Peter and Paul [Acts 9:36-42, 20:7-12].  And someday He is going to do it.  All of us shall be raised from the dead [1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].  I believe God can do that anytime anywhere.  But it is always done, according to the Holy Scriptures, those miracles are always wrought according to a divine sovereignty, a divine necessity, a divine purpose.  Now look at that a moment.  The Bible expressly says, in the tenth chapter of John, that John did no miracle.  John the Baptist did no miracle.  As great as John the Baptist was, it expressly is stated, “John did no miracle” [John 10:41].

But Jesus did miracles, and yet look: when He was at the pool of Bethesda, in the fifth chapter of John, the Bible expressly states, “There were many who were sick there” [John 5:3].  How many did He heal?  One [John 5:5-9].  How many did He leave behind?  All the rest of them.  He healed one.  He healed one.

In the marvelous sermon that our Lord preached at Nazareth, in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, the Lord said, “There were many poor widows in the days of Elijah, but to none of them was the prophet sent; but to the widow at Zarephath in Phoenicia” [Luke 4:25-26].  All the rest of the widows, just one miraculously sustained by the meal barrel that never wasted and the cruse of oil that never failed [1 Kings 17:16].  Then the Lord said, “There were many lepers in the days of Elisha but to none of them was the prophet sent except to Naaman, a Syrian” [Luke 4:27].  What about all the other lepers?

Take again, in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Acts is reported the marvelous deliverance of Simon Peter.  He’s in prison and Herod’s going to cut his head off.  And the chains fall off of his hands, and the iron doors of the prison open, and Peter is miraculously delivered [Acts 12:5-10].  But my brother, that same chapter 12 begins with the beheading of James, the son of Zebedee, the brother of John [Acts 12:1-2].  Why didn’t the Lord deliver James?  Why did He let James have his head cut off?  And in the chapters before, in chapter 7, Stephen is stoned to death [Acts 7:59-60].  Why didn’t the Lord deliver him, or any of the rest of the martyrs?

Or take again this marvelous miracle that we’ve been talking about, a prayer cloth.  Now you look at this: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought forth unto the sick handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them” [Acts 19:11-12].  All right, now I’m going to turn to the swan song of the apostle Paul, the last letter that he wrote to his son Timothy; and I’m going to read from 2 Timothy 4:20: “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletus sick.”  The apostle Paul writes to Timothy the last letter of his life, “Trophimus.”  Trophimus as you know was one of the sainted men that followed Paul from the third missionary journey, with his collection, to Jerusalem [Acts 21:29].  And it was on account of having seen Paul with Trophimus on the streets of Jerusalem that when they saw Paul the next day in the temple, they just supposed that he’d taken Trophimus, this Ephesian, this heathen convert, this pagan Gentile, the Jews thought that Paul had taken Trophimus into the temple with him; just supposed it because they’d seen Paul with him on the streets of Jerusalem the day before [Acts 21:27-29].

Now it’s that Trophimus that Paul left in Miletus sick! [2 Timothy 4:20].  Wonder why Paul didn’t take one of his prayer cloths and put on him?  Or why didn’t Paul kneel down and ask God to heal him?  “Trophimus have I left at Miletus sick!” [2 Timothy 4:20].  Now, the conclusion, because I have a conclusion to this, there is a meaning.  There is a meaning.  Our lives, our lives lie in the sovereign and elective purpose of God.  And it is God that wills for us this or this or this.  And all of the self-consecration that I might offer unto God in the world would not give me that power to raise a corrupting body from the dead, unless it is God’s sovereign choice for me that I be given that power.  These gifts are in the sovereign purpose of God.

In the twenty-first chapter of the Book of John, this addendum, this appendix that John wrote to his Gospel, Jesus is talking to Simon Peter, and He says to Simon Peter:

When you were a young man, you clothed yourself, you girded yourself, and you walked anywhere you wanted to: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

This speak He, signifying by what death he should glorify God!

[John 21:18-19]

That is Jesus’ prediction that Simon Peter will die by crucifixion.  He’s going to die with his hands outstretched, and somebody carrying him where he doesn’t want to go.  That’s Jesus’ prediction that Simon Peter will die by crucifixion.  Brother, there are no falling off of the chains here, as in the twelfth chapter of Acts [Acts 12:7].  And there are no iron doors opening here, as in the twelfth chapter of Acts [Acts 12:10].  For according to the divine purpose of God, James was killed in the twelfth chapter of Acts [Acts 12:1-2], and Simon Peter was delivered [Acts 12:3-4].  But according to the divine purpose of God here, Simon Peter is going to be crucified! [John 21:18-19]. And then when the Lord says to Simon Peter, “Now you follow Me unto crucifixion,” why, Peter, turning around, saw John the disciple beloved, following, and he said:

Now Lord, You say I am to follow You unto crucifixion and death?

What about this man?  What about John?  What about him?

And Jesus said unto him, If I will that he never die, if I will that he never suffer, if I will that he never be crucified, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  You follow Me!

[from John 21:20-22]

“Doesn’t matter what My choice and elective purpose is about John; if he’s never crucified, if he never suffers, if he never dies, you follow Me” [John2 1:22].  And all of the books say that Simon Peter was crucified with his head down because he wasn’t worthy to be crucified like his Lord, with his head up.  And all of the books say that John died a natural death at an age beyond a hundred years in the city of Ephesus.

According to the elective purpose of God, I am to live my life, whether to be beheaded like James, or to be delivered like Simon Peter, or ultimately, to be crucified, as the great chief apostle was in his age; or if in the elective purpose of God I never suffer like John, die a natural death at an aged age, whether to live or to die, all of my part is to yield myself to the sovereign grace and elective purpose of God for me.  And if God wills that I go through a Gethsemane, then Lord help me to pray, “Not my will, but Thine, be done” [Luke 22:42].

And if the Lord wills that I be crucified—like He says of Simon Peter, and die with my hands stretched out, nailed to a tree [John 21:18-19]—then Lord, help me to pray for those who would crucify me, as the Lord did [Luke 23:34], and then to bow my head and commit my spirit to Thee [John 19:30].  Or if the Lord wills that I live in health and strength to an old age [John 21:22-23], then Lord, may I receive it with grace and with humility, as becomes a child of God for whom the Lord hath elected this pleasant and beautiful lot in life.  But our lives are in His hands, and what happens is according to the bestowing of His sovereign choice for me [Luke 12:29-31].

Out there in the West—out there in the West, preaching away week before last, I visited with a schoolmate, a friend in Baylor, long time ago, he and I went through Baylor together.  Oh, that man, that man!  How hard a place he serves even now, and how difficult his life, and with what sorrow in his home—death, and tears, and bereavement, and separation, and now in a small place and in daily agony over it.

And then I looked at myself in this lovely congregation, and before these marvelous people, and loved and encouraged by the prayers of so many.  And I thought back of the days of our student studying in Baylor together.  Is it because I am a better man that God has put me here and put him there in that difficult place?  Is it because I love God more than he does?  Is it because I am more consecrated than he is?  I tell you no!  Nay, for I have known him all through the years; there is not a more consecrated man.  There is not a man more given to God.  There’s not a man who loves Jesus more or has sacrificed more in His behalf.  Well, why am I here and he there?  It is because of a sovereign elective purpose of God into which I cannot enter.  Am I therefore in His presence or in the presence of anyone else to be proud and uplifted because he serves in so difficult place and God hath given me this incomparable ministry?  Nay, and a thousand times no!

What I have is a gift of God.  And I am to receive as from His hands all these things, all of them, all of them.  And if it is tears, I’m to thank God for the tears.  If it’s a hard and difficult place, to thank God that He matched my soul against such a hard and difficult place.  Or if it’s to be in this wonderful pulpit, to thank God that His grace and mercy and elective choice reached even unto me to place me here.

Our lives, all of them, are in the purposes of God.  And if the Lord wills that I raise the dead, I shall raise the dead.  Or if the Lord wills that from me could go out handkerchiefs to heal the sick, from me shall go out handkerchiefs to heal the sick.  Or if the Lord wills that we be exalted, or suffer, or whatever, it is God’s sovereign grace.  But whatever comes, there’s a purpose in it.  There’s a purpose in it.  There’s a sovereign reason that lies back of it, and I am to give my life and this ministry, according to the choice and elective purpose of God.  The Lord is speaking to us.  He is saying things to us, and He wants us to know, God grant it for the growth and nurture of our souls.

Now while we sing this hymn of appeal, somebody you, give your heart to Jesus today [Ephesians 2:8].  A family you, coming into the fellowship of the church; a couple, one, however God shall say the word and lead the way, make it now: “Here I come, pastor, and here I am.  By the grace of God, trusting Him, here I stand.  Here I come.”  On the first note of the first stanza, make it this morning, come while we stand and while we sing.

THE PURPOSE OF MIRACLES

Dr. W. A. Criswell

John 14:16

5-23-65

I.          Following the history

A.  After death of apostles, change in attitude toward writings of Scripture

B.  Marvelous apostolic miracles ceased (Acts 2:8, 3:7, 5:15, 9:34, 40, 12:7, 10, 19:12, 20:10)

C.  Montanus claimed his writings and works were of the apostles

      1. Controversy led to church avowing Scriptures closed, no more miracles

II.         Exception taken to the message

A.  The letter – “I believe in the marvelous works…”

1.  Difference between raising of the dead and speaking unknown tongues (Acts 5:15, 9:36-43)

B.  The attempt to duplicate the apostolic miracles (Acts 19:12)

      1.  Prayer cloth and a book

III.        Besides Genesis and the Revelation, three periods of miraculous wonders

A.  All three periods have same purpose of authentication

      1.  Days of Moses in the introduction of the law (Exodus 4:1-9)

2.  Days of Elijah and Elisha in the days of the apostasy (1 Kings 18:36-37)

3.  Days of Jesus and the apostles when Christian dispensation introduced (Matthew 11:1-5, John 10:25, 14:11, 20:30-31)

IV.       In our day and time

A.  Whatever God does, it is according to sovereign and elective purpose

B.  John the Baptist did no miracle (John 10:41)

C.  Miracles of Jesus (John 5:1-9, Luke 4:25-27)

D.  Story of Simon Peter (Acts 12:1-7)

      1.  Why not deliver the martyrs? (Acts 7)

E.  Paul doesn’t heal Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20)

F.  Draft of fishes; the Lord dines with disciples (John 21:18-22)

      1.  Prophecy of crucifixion of Simon Peter

G.  Whether tears or honor, it is in God’s choice and in God’s purpose