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MIRACLES DO HAPPEN

A SERMON DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
ATHENS, NEW YORK

29 JUNE 1997

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

2 Kings 20:1-6
            21:1-15

Mark 5:21-43
           10:27
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
                    12:9
John 14:6

If we say, "Miracles do happen", we are leaving ourselves open to receive whatever the Lord has for us.

But if we say, "Miracles don't happen," we close the door upon the Lord; for we're saying that we don't really believe that the Lord can or does perform miracles.

The receiving of miracles is not a complicated procedure.

All it involves is just enough faith to know that the Lord does perform miracles, and then to be open enough to receive whatever He has for us.

That's all!

We don't need to have the faith to move mountains ourselves; all we need to have is enough faith to know that God can move mountains.

With this in mind, let's look at our first Bible passage for this morning, Mark 5:21-43:

21. And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered about Him; and He stayed by the seashore.

Most of the people may not have believed that Jesus was the Son of God, or their Savior, but they believed He performed miracles.

They had just enough faith to follow Him, knowing that He would be performing miracles.

As an example, don't we go to concerts, having the faith that we will hear music?

But with music, we know it's from the musician.

The miracles were there to attract the people’s attention to the power of God; for once we focus our attention upon God, our faith will grow.

22. And one of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and upon seeing Him, fell at His feet,

23. and entreated Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, that she may get well and live."

This is an act of simple faith.

This is the beginning of a miracle.

Perhaps the first miracle we come to understand is when the Lord heals our unbelief.

24. And He went off with him; and a great multitude was following Him and pressing in on Him.

The crowd wanted Him to stay and perform His miracles in their presence.

They didn't want to miss out.

This is the same mistake that most of us make; we seek after human solutions to the exclusion of God.

25. And a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years,

26. and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse,

27. after hearing about Jesus, came up in the crowd behind Him, and touched His cloak.

But now this woman is seeking in the proper direction.

28. For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I shall get well."

This is faith, real faith.

29. And immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

And this is a miracle, a real miracle.

And unless we likewise reach out in faith, as this woman did, we might not attract the Lord's attention to our own situations.

30. And immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?"

31. And His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude pressing in on You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?"'

32. And He looked around to see the woman who had done this.

33. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth.

34. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."

We need to reach out in the same way.

We need to reach out in faith, and be thankful for the results.

And let's not forget that Jesus was on the way to heal another, the daughter of Jairus.

35. While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?"

Note the lack of faith of these people, and their negative attitude.

Note also the miracle of the restoration of faith that Jesus performs.

36. But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe."

37. And He allowed no one to follow with Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James.

38. And they came to the house of the synagogue official; and He beheld a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing.

39. And entering in, He said to them, "Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep."

40. And they began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child's father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was.

Most people are like the ones gathered in the home of Jairus: they mock faith; they mock the Lord.

Don’t be discouraged by the seemingly impossible, for nothing is impossible with God.

41. And taking the child by the hand, He said to her, "Talitha kum!" (which translated means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!") .

42. And immediately the girl rose and began to walk; for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded.

43. And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this; and He said that something should be given her to eat.

There is an interesting little side note to these miracles.

Note the twelve years of affliction suffered by the woman, and consider the twelve tribes of Israel.

If Israel as a nation would have reached out to Jesus, as did this woman, their afflictions most likely would have been healed.

Similarly, the age of Jairus's daughter was twelve; and hidden in this miracle is the message that Israel, too, could be raised from her dead faith of relying on the Law rather than on God, who gave them the Law.

And while we're talking about faith, let's look closer at our own, and compare it to what Paul wrote to the Corinthians in his second letter (8:7-15).

7. But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.

In other words, Christians are not to be lazy, either in their faith or in their works.

8. I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.

This is something that we should just naturally desire to do; not because we are told, but because we want to do so.

9. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

10. And I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it.

Note the heart change; they now desire to give.

This in itself is a miracle.

11. But now finish doing it also; that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.

They may have allowed the ways of the unbelievers to begin to influence them, and made them feel they were foolish to give to others.

Just as many people don't believe in miracles, and in their disbelief, they try to diminish the faith of others.

12. For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have.

13. For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality--

14. at this present time your abundance being a supply for their want, that their abundance also may become a supply for your want, that there may be equality;

15. as it is written, "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack."

When the community of faith begins to act in unison, the faith of all increases, and we begin to see even more miracles.

The Lord may not always desire to heal someone, as when He said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you…" (2 Corinthians 12:9)

And He may not want to raise someone from the dead; for we know that as a consequence of the healing of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:1-6), who was to die, his son, Manasseh, born three years after the healing, became the main cause of Judah being led into captivity. (2 Kings 21:1-16)

God knows best.

But miracles do happen, even if small ones.

So, if we believe, and reach out in faith, we will indeed begin to see them, even if they are small.

And the more we begin to recognize these miracles, the stronger our faith becomes.

Jesus says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." (John 14:6)

This is the miracle of salvation.

By faith we must seek it through Jesus, there is no other way to heaven for those who have been informed.

But God also sees the intent of the heart of those who have not been enlightened.

We can spend all our time and money looking for other ways to be happy and well, but we will never find the true miracle.

Jesus is the answer, the only answer, and in this understanding is the proof that miracles do happen.

Amen.

Your Comments are welcome

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