The Miracle Working God
God is still in the miracle business and He will chose to perform them as He determines it best to do so. Depend on your Lord who hasn't brought you this far to drop you now.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright? Well, I trust so. I always wait to see how you answer, you know that. [chuckle] One day we’ll have two-way radio, and I’ll be able to hear you. And some of you will say, “Don’t ask. I should have stayed in bed.” [chuckle] I know. Some days are like that. If you’ve struck a rough day, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through this one,” and He will. He said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” He hasn’t brought you this far to dump you now, so trust your blessed Lord. He’ll see you through.
You and I are looking at Mark, the 16th chapter, the closing verses of the Gospel of Mark. And we’d just been commenting on the 15th verse, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” And when we went off the air, I was emphasizing the fact that my responsibility and yours begins right where we live, with our family and our neighbors, our next door neighbors. And then, it goes on to the general community around us. And then, it includes people we don’t like. Samaritans. And then, it includes the whole wide world.
Oh, think about what you might be doing today to share your faith in Christ with someone else. Now, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” I talked about that a while back, a day or so ago, and I’m not gonna go over that territory again. Except that the criteria for salvation are always very clear; he that believeth; he that believeth not. These are the two that God’s Word points out as being what is necessary. And I turned, if you recall, to John 3, where the Word of God said, “He that believeth on Him,” Christ, “is not condemned. But he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Then I turned to John 3:36, a verse that I learned before I was seven years old. I learned 50 verses out of the Gospel of John. My father encouraging me with the promise of a gift of a gold watch, which he gave me when I recited them perfectly. It was a good watch; it never ran very well, an old Reliance. Any of you old timers remember a Reliance watch, made by some clock company up in New England? But I was inordinately proud of it because it was indeed a gold watch, and I had gotten it for memorizing these verses. [chuckle]
Well, anyhow, John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son,” believeth, there’s your criterion. “Believeth on the Son hath,” not will have but does have everlasting life. “And he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” You’re not gonna be condemned if and when you are consigned to hell; you’re condemned already if you have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the truth of the gospel. And you have it again here in Mark 16:15. Now he says, “He that believeth and is baptized,” and I covered that. I hope those of you who believe in baptismal regeneration won’t write me a scad of letters and quarrel with me because I do respect your position; indeed I do. You have every right to believe as you do. But for me, baptism is an act of obedience to the divine command as a testimony to what has happened in saving faith. That’s where I’m coming from on it, and it seems as though that tallies pretty well with most of the interpretations by the evangelical world at this point. Two ordinances God gave us; one the Lord’s supper, communion; the other, believer’s baptism. Once you’ve trusted Christ as Savior, you confess Him in believer’s baptism which we believe is by immersion in water.
Now, verse 17, “These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Now, let’s not make a difficult business out of this. In other words, a lot of folk have quarreled among themselves as to whether these verses apply to today. My opinion is that this promise was especially given for the new church because every one of these things was fulfilled in the experience of the early church. For instance, it says, “They shall take up serpents.” Well, Paul the apostle fulfilled that, didn’t he? When, after having been shipwrecked came out of the cold water, and somebody built a fire. And out of the sticks that had been laid on the fire came a viper and bit Paul. Well, it says, “He shook him off and felt no harm, and the people were amazed,” because they expected he would’ve died from the snake bite. “When the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer.’ He shook off the beast into the fire and felt no harm. When they looked, he should’ve swollen or fallen down dead, but after they looked a great while and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.” [chuckle]
In my opinion, our Lord Jesus allowed every one of these promises to be fulfilled in those early days. Now, the next question is, does it still happen? And I have to answer. It will happen every time God wants it to happen to prove the truth of the gospel. You and I, in this civilization, don’t really need to see this kind of miracle to know that Jesus is real. But where there is a need for a miracle of this kind or any other kind… Now, follow me carefully. Where there is a need for a miracle either of this kind that we read in Mark 16 or any other kind, God is still in the miracle business.
Hubert Mitchell came back from a missionary trip a few years ago and told me the following story. He and Rachel came to see us while we still lived on the campus of the college, and they sat in our front room and this is what he said. They had visited a certain church out in the Pacific Islands, where he was familiar with the work and had gone out there to minister. They had visited this church and had been told the following. “There were a group of people who had banded together to destroy this little church and all of its people, people who were bitter against the gospel and who had banded together to do that.
Now there came an evening when the believers were gathered in their little church, a simple affair it was of brick walls and thatched roof that sort of a thing. They were gathered in their little church, singing and praying. And now came these folk who had banded themselves together to destroy, to destroy this entire congregation. They were gonna burn the place down and the people with it. But nothing happened. They stood around and finally went away.” And Hubert Mitchell told me someone asked one of them later on, “What was it that you just stood around and then you went away?” “Oh,” they said, “didn’t you see the flames? Didn’t you see the flames? While we stood there, the whole roof was covered with flames of fire, and we couldn’t do anything.” [chuckle] Fire? Covered? Flames? What does it remind you of? It reminds you of the day of Pentecost, when it’s said there were tongues of fire upon each of these dear believers in that early church. God sent His angel down there to protect the believers, didn’t He? Of course He did.
Now, I think it would be presumptuous for you and me to go out and pick up a rattlesnake and say, “Now, I’m a Christian, so I can pick up a snake.” I don’t believe that that is what is included in this promise. If you do, well, we’ll have to wait ’til we get to heaven and as my father said, “We’ll be in heaven one day and you’ll know I was right.” [chuckle] He was never wrong about anything. [chuckle] No, I don’t believe that that’s indicated for Bob Cook to go out and pick up a rattlesnake. We have a few of them around here in the mountains. And I give them a wide berth because I don’t believe that that promise applies to me in that connection. I don’t go over to the medicine cabinet and take out a bottle of iodine, and drink it, and say, “Now, let God protect me.” That is the highest form of presumption. You’re tempting God if you do things like that. All I’m saying is, where a miracle is necessary to prove the truth of the gospel to any certain kind of people, where a miracle is necessary to prove the truth of the gospel to any group of people, God is still in the miracle business, and He determines when and how that kind of miraculous intervention is going to occur. Alright?
I’ll give you another story from Hubert Mitchell. He and Dave Morken of course were missionaries out in the South Pacific before the outbreak and just after the outbreak of World War II. And Hubert was trying somehow to explain to these natives what it meant for the Lord Jesus to be nailed to a cross. They had never seen a nail. “What is a nail?” Well, they didn’t have any nails. Everything out there was quite primitive, and he didn’t have any nails. “What is a nail?” Well, he tried to describe it, “It’s a piece of metal with a head on it that you could hit and a point on the other end.” They didn’t quite see it. One morning, at breakfast, he decided he was going to open one of their prized treasures, a can of oranges. Whether they were mandarin oranges or whatever they were, I don’t know. He was gonna open a can of oranges.
He got the can opener and opened the can of oranges and poured them out. And in that can, believe it or not, there was a good sized nail. [chuckle] How it got there, who put it there, who knows? But he brought that nail out and said to the chief and to the people who gathered around, “Now, I’ve been talking to you about the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins on a wooden cross, and that he was nailed there with nails through his hands and feet. This is a small nail. Of course, they used much larger ones when they crucified the Lord Jesus, but this is what a nail looks like.” And he showed it to them. They shook their heads yes, “Now I understand.”
Could God plan, in a packing house, for somebody either by design or by mistake to put a good sized nail in a can of oranges, could He plan that? Yes, He could. Did He know that a missionary named Hubert Mitchell would need an illustration that would enable primitive minds to understand? Yes, God knew, and He planned, and He worked it, so that that the truth could be preached. All I’m saying, Beloved, is this, you can count on the God of miracles, today. When divine intervention is needed to prove the truth of the gospel, God is still in the miracle business, hallelujah. [chuckle] Believe Him and trust Him all the way, today.
Dear Father, today, help us to depend on the miracle-working God while we do the will of our Father in sharing the gospel with others. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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