“Are Miracles for Today?”
“…and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick…”
James 5:15a (NASB)
Key x-References – The purpose of “signs” and “miracles” and relevance for today
Acts 4:14-16 (NASB) A “sign” is basically a “noteworthy miracle” “And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, ‘What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.’” *Note: The Greek word here is semeion = “sign”
John 9:1-3 (NASB) *God sometimes allows adversity and suffering for HIS glory!
“As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” *Note: cf. v.16 “signs;” see also vv.24-34
Matthew 24:24 (NASB) *An over-emphasis on signs and miracles can be dangerous! “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”
Key Terms (most words have a ‘field of meaning’ —> various translations) “attested” (Acts 2:22) Gk #584, apodeiknumi; from 575 and 1166: to bring out, show forth, declare:– attested (1), displaying (1), exhibited (1), prove (1)
“miracles” (Acts 2:22) Gk#1411, dunamis , from 1410; (miraculous) power, might, strength:– (4), mightily (1), mighty (1), miracle (2), miracles (17), miraculous powers (3), power (83), powers (6), strength (2), wealth (1)
- Note: cp. English word “dynamite” derived from this Greek word
“wonders” (Acts 2:22) Gk#5059, teras ; prim. word; a wonder, marvel:– wonders(16) “signs” (Acts 2:22) Gk #4592, semeion: a sign:– miracle (2), sign (35), signs (39)
• Note: The use of the word “miracle” (Greek dunamis 19x/119x total) in the NASB 10x in the Gospels
3x in Acts (5x if the 2x the Greek semeion = “sign” is translated “miracle”)
6x in the rest of the New Testament (4x to the troubled church in Corinth)
There is not as much emphasis on “miracles” in the New Testament as some believe!
Key Online Links—Click to access online music videos
(to enhance your worship experience during this pandemic!)
Jesus’ Authority Over Disease (key sermon on God’s sovereignty over disease) Chas Rowland, Pastor
Glen Baptist Church 8/1/21 https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=367239288343519&ref=search
Even If (When miracles in answer to our prayers don’t come!) MercyMe – Official Lyric Video
MercyMe – Even If (Official Lyric Video) – Bing video
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…” James 4:3a (NASB)
Covid 19D Series #4 8/15/21 (Update)
Questions About God, Faith and Prayer
“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:22 (NASB)
Key Questions – The biblical connection between “signs,” “miracles,” and “wonders” 1. Are miracles for today, and if so, are they different from the 1st century?
The short answer is “Yes” and “Yes.”
- What are the key differences between “miracles” and “signs” (then and now)?
The terms “miracle” and “sign” are basically synonymous (i.e. used interchangeably, although they each have distinct nuance – see #3 below – which is why they are also all used together to refer to the same event). This is significant because it highlights the purpose of these miraculous events in the 1st century which is not present today – the authentication of the truth of the Gospel message concerning the Person and Work of Jesus the Messiah. There are a few possible exceptions in the New Testament where the purpose of the miracle may be more personally focused on an individual or small group, which is similar to the occurrence of miracles today. Consequently, miracles are much less prevalent today. An over-emphasis, or an excessive desire for the miraculous, may indicate an experientially–based faith that can result in significant theological and practical problems for believers.
- Why are 3 different words often used to identify these miraculous events? “sign” – refers to the divine purpose of the event.
Acts 2:22 is one example of this primary purpose of miracles in the New Testament – they “attest” to the reality of who the Christ is (cf. also Acts 4:14-16; Hebrews 2:4)
“miracle” – points to the supernatural nature, cause. or source of the power. The word “miracle” is almost always the translation of the Greek dunamis which is the primary word for “power” (it’s the word we get our English word “dynamite” from). As it is used in the context of miracles it points to the supernatural power of God.
(The word “miracle” is used only 12 of 21 times without the world “sign,” and even some of those references are clearly in the context of a “sign miracle”)
“wonder” – speaks to the powerful emotional and spiritual impact on people. E.g. Acts 2:43 “Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.”
Conclusion – Astronaut Tom Irwin’s search for Noah’s ark circa 1973 (cf. Luke 16:31)
Key Verse(s) – Purpose of God’s miraculous works in 1st century was authentication Acts 2:22 (NASB) *Key verse on the purpose of signs in the 1st century
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know…”
Hebrews 2:4 (NASB) *Signs and miracles used by God to authenticate N.T. revelation “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.”
“…You do not have because you do not ask.” James 4:2b (NASB)