What You Didn’t Know About Jesus’ Miracles

 

What You Didn’t Know About Jesus’ Miracles

There is more and more interest in supernatural phenomena, perhaps now more than ever due to premiere TV shows that capitalize on the vampire and superhero extravaganza. This new wave of monotony has added one more reason for devout souls to gorge their minds with emptiness. Nonetheless, if you like the supernatural, consider reading the Bible instead. And upon reading the Bible, consider the purpose of Jesus’ miracles wrought so frequently throughout the New Testament narratives.
What was the purpose of Jesus’ miracles? Popular opinion is this: the miracles of Jesus were recorded to testify to Jesus’ power and His deity. However, popular opinion stops there, stating this is the only purpose of Jesus’ miracles. Certainly, this was a hierarchal, if not, the primary role of the miracles recorded. No other gospel shows this truth more evidently than John’s gospel packed with jaw dropping miracles from cover to cover. The back cover of His gospel even states the details therein were recorded in order that his audience might believe in Jesus’ deity (John 20:30-31). With this being said, consider that there is another purpose to these miracles revealed by the Holy Spirit Himself: an intent that will cause you to rethink how your life looks in the eyes of God.
The Holy Spirit, writing through the hand of Matthew, records a robust series of miracles in Matthew 8 & 9. In Matthew 8, Jesus heals a leper (v. 3), a Centurion’s paralyzed servant (v. 5-13), Peter’s mother’s fever (14-15), many demon-possessed persons (v. 16), and, “All who were sick,” (v. 16). Every type of healing fathomable is either listed by name or included in the statement, “All who were sick.” What does this have to do with showing a secondary purpose of Jesus’ miracles? Read Matthew 9:6. Just before healing a lame man let down through the roof where He was preaching, Jesus proclaims this purpose to working the miracle of healing, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.” The miracles evidence Jesus’ power to forgive sins when we realize what is happening spiritually at the time of forgiveness. Just as the psalmist cried out to God and was healed spiritually (Ps. 30:2), so the physical, miraculous illustration invoked by Jesus’ words, “Be cleansed,” (Matt. 8:3) gives our finite human minds a glimpse into the spiritual realm of activity that transpires upon Jesus washing away our sins. In sin, we are, “paralyzed and dreadfully tormented,” like the centurion’s servant in Matt. 8:6 graphically portrays. But again, after stating He had power to forgive sins on earth in Matt. 9:6, Jesus proclaimed to the lame man, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Consider your spiritual state at this time, now aware of how God views the sin in your life.
For further evidence that the Holy Spirit wants the Bible reader to grasp this secondary purpose to Jesus’ miracles, answer the following questions. 1) Why does Matthew quote Isaiah 53:4 in Matt. 8:17, this just after he details all the different types of healings performed by Jesus, and that without a mention to forgiveness of sins? Isaiah was referring to Messiah taking away spiritual infirmities and sicknesses in context, but the Holy Spirit applies the passage to the miraculous display of Matthew 8. The answer- Jesus healing people of physical infirmities illustrated His power to heal them of spiritual sicknesses. 2) Does Jesus’ resurrecting of Lazarus after three days in the grave (John 11) have any illustrative purpose to what Jesus was about to accomplish in John 20? 3) Does Peter and John’s healing of the lame man in Acts 3:1-10 having any illustrative purpose for the subsequent sermon about the spiritual “restoration” of Israel (i.e. Acts 3:19, 21)? More examples could be given, but these will suffice. May this study build your faith in the divine composition of God’s Holy Word given for your nourishment (Matt. 4:4).

Aaron Battey

http://www.oldpathsadvocate.org

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Obey Your Parents

“Obey Your Parents”
Proverbs 1:8

Solomon was one of the wisest men to ever walk the surface of the earth. He was blessed by God with spiritual wisdom; this same wisdom is on display in the book of Proverbs, which he authored. In the very first chapter, Solomon seeks to impart some of that God-given wisdom to his son. How interesting it is that of all the wisdom the great Solomon could have taught his son, one of the first things he mentions is the importance of heeding his parent’s instruction. For the focus of this article, a few other verses will be examined from Proverbs and elsewhere to show that God intended for children to be taught Biblical principles by their parents from the time they were old enough to understand. Believe it or not, the Creator saw to it that righteous men throughout the eras of time write down the truths that mankind should pattern their lives after. Almighty God even wrote in such detail to regard how children were to behave and carry themselves throughout the days of youth. When a man and woman are joined together in holy matrimony, the husband & wife form the foundation of the family—the man and woman leave their fathers and mothers and cleave to each other as one flesh according to Genesis 2:24. From this union, God purposed children to be raised in the loving care of righteous parents. Some children are blessed with good parents. Some children unfortunately lose a parent, or both, to death and become orphans. Some children have parents who don’t have the proper affection for their children like they ought. But in God’s natural order, children typically have two parents who love them and want the best for them.
​As far as the home is concerned, God gave commands that regarded each member of the home with certain duties and responsibilities. Paul expressly discussed the obligation of children in the home. Ephesians 6:1-3: 1Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. The apostle addresses both sons and daughters to teach them something divine that the Father would have them understand in order for the home and the children’s role in the home to exist correctly in His sight. From those verses, I believe there are at least three reasons why children should obey their parents.
First, a child’s obedience is necessary because it is right. This important Biblical principle and commandment has been repeated throughout the course of the scriptures and because it is steadily repeated, we can conclude that this command was part of God’s framework for life. We have proof of this because it was first mentioned in Exodus 20:12 as a portion of the 10 commandments. It’s mentioned several times in the book of Proverbs such as the first verse alluded to in this article, Proverbs 1:8; also in Proverbs 6:20, and in Proverbs 23:22. When we look at verses like verse 1 of Ephesians 6, most people disregard this because we live in a world that believes it has outsmarted God. By that, I mean people believe they are so educated that they don’t have to take direct orders from anyone or anything, for they are too intuitive to live this way! There must be a logical, scientific reason that lines up with the way society thinks at that moment in time for anyone to deem it necessary! Isn’t that the drumbeat of today’s culture? Well Christians who utilize such a thought process are walking on thin ice. Anytime God gives a direct command, as He does in Ephesians 6:1, it is to be OBEYED! And if somebody refuses to swallow their pride and do something because God said so, Solomon says such an attitude is foolish. Anytime God tells us to do something, we can be certain it is right! God does not owe anyone an explanation for any instruction he gives (Isaiah 55:8-9). “For this is right” is all the explaining needed for a child to understand that they must obey their parents.
Second, children should obey their parents because procreators are a source of wisdom! Our parents’ wisdom can help us in all aspects of life and that is why we are told to keep their teachings ever on our hearts and never depart from them (Proverbs 6:20-22). One of the biggest reasons parents are usually wise is because they have “been there and done that.” Too often, teenagers and young adults believe that our parents are dinosaurs and they really don’t know anything! In reality, they were once young adults and faced many of the same situations young folks find themselves in now. It doesn’t matter how advanced technology may become or how much we think times are changing, these things cannot deter the prevailing wisdom in experience!
​Finally, a child’s obedience to his parents is warranted so that it may be well with him (Ephesians 6:3). A rampant fad in today’s advancing society is this obsession with eating the right foods, glutton-free and exercise so that we can be well physically. We try to learn proper manners and communicate with people in a socially acceptable behavior so that it may be well with us publicly. So, we should obey our parents so that it may be well with us spiritually! Thus far, it has been suggested that our parents should be obeyed because they are a source of wisdom. When children don’t heed their parents’ wisdom, it is like a spit in the face to them. Guardians spend all the time that we live worrying about us, trying to do everything possible to give us all they can, and make sacrifices for us. When we don’t obey them, it causes tension and discord. But here in this passage, Paul wants us to see that things will be more in sync and harmonious in our lives if we will only obey God’s commands. Now in the second part of the verse, Paul says “that thou mayest live long on the earth.” Solomon stated something very similar in Proverbs 3:1-2: 1My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. In all of the King Solomon’s wisdom, he realized the importance of obeying your parents for several different reasons. He especially knew the importance of obeying them so that we might live long on the earth and that it would be well with us! We need to understand though that this does not mean that every child that disappoints and sows discord with his/her parents won’t live a long life. This also doesn’t mean that every good, obedient child will live a long life. The point is that we all can have God’s blessing if we do obey because that is what He has promised. Therefore, we must follow it.
​It is this writer’s hope and prayer that every Christian will understand the necessity of this teaching throughout God’s Word and instruct the generations to come about the pressing responsibility of obedience to parents, and for that matter, authority. The Lord will be pleased if we are successful.

Colby Culbertson

http://www.oldpathsadvocate.org

“God Gave Them Up”

 

“God Gave Them Up”

​Romans 1:22-26 says: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:”
​There is a degrading morality in the gentiles life style mentioned in Romans1:22-26. God gave them up to three things: uncleanness, vile affections and reprobate minds.
​First God gave them up to “uncleanness”. This means God gave them up to the flesh. He let the flesh gain control over them. When one is set on a course to do as they please God will give them over to what they desire, but there are consequences for doing such. Just as when Israel cried saying, “we shall have a king.” God warned them of their decision stating: You will have a king and he will be a wreck. You taxes will go up. He will take your young men and women as servants, and he will take your young men for war. When you cry out in the day of you affliction I will not deliver you. Because these gentiles wanted to live in a flesh fulfilling life style, God gave them up, and let their desires gain control.

​Second, God gave them up to vile affections. “Vile affections” are acts that dishonor. The acts Paul mentions are connected and described as homosexual acts. The point is that when one has allowed themselves to be under control of the flesh they will do what they need to fulfill their desires no matter how low they have to stoop.
​Third, God gave them up to a reprobate mind. “Reprobate mind” is a mind that is not able to discern what is good. With their downward spiral of carnal immorality complete, they finally have made it to a place where they can`t discern what is actually good from what is actually bad. All they understand is what they want and what they don’t want. There is no restriction and no bounds on what these things could be.

​These gentiles, as Paul describes, started with a simple yet fatal mistake, letting a little uncleanness take hold in their lives. We look at murders and rapists and wonder how anyone could stoop so low? We look at the crime rates in the US and the drug distribution throughout the world and wonder, how could an innocent child turn into such a horrible adult? We look around in our world at the prostitution, pornography, and child exploitation and try to see where all of these horrible and disgusting acts have come from?

​It doesn`t take us looking too long in our bible to understand all of this has resulted from man letting a little uncleanness in their lives. This is why it is imperative we discuss this topic. A little uncleanness has resulted in the world we live in today. What happens if we continue to let uncleanness in?
​God spoke of a world whose, “every imagination of their heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). This all resulted from a little uncleanness being let in.
​I want to ask two questions that will deal with uncleanness in our lives.

1 – As Christians what do we allow ourselves to get away with? How often do we take ourselves to task over the sin we commit? How often do we hold our selves accountable for what we do wrong? Too many times do we try to shift the blame on to some circumstance in our lives or shift is onto someone else?
When God saw that Adam had eaten of the tree and He questions Adam. Adam shifted the blame on two individuals, God and Eve. He says, “The woman who thou gavest me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat.” When God turned his attention to Eve she stated “The serpent beguiled me and I did eat.” (Gen. 3:12, 13)​
Shifting the blame is an old tool to help take some of the heat of guilt away. If I can blame my circumstance on my family or a stranger, then I may not feel quite as guilty. The problem with mankind is no one likes to take themselves to task. It is time that we begin to take the mirror of God`s word and hold ourselves up in it. We need to begin to hold ourselves accountable for our mistakes. It is easy to get in a rut of allowing ourselves to get away with some things. But here in lies a problem. Just as Jesus said, in Luke 16:10; “He that is faithful in little is faithful in much.” If we are unfaithful in little how long until, we become as the gentiles and sink to being unfaithful in much? How long will it be before we too are unable to discern what is good?​
2 – Parents what are you allowing in your homes?
​Parents have the utmost responsibility when it comes to children because is their job to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”, (Eph. 6:4) Parents what are you allowing your children to watch on TV? What movies are you allowing you children to go see with friends? I read an article about the ratings of movies, and one that really concerns me is the PG-13 rating. This article stated – “I would not argue exactly that ratings across-the-board have gotten more lenient over time, but it seems to me that the “rules” of what goes into a PG-13 rating have crystallized, and that filmmakers now know exactly what to do to get around the rules. This has led to PG-13 ratings on films that feature brutal killings, breasts, and of course, foul language.”
​So, what are we as Christians to think about the movies we watch, and more importantly, what are we allowing the children to watch. When you watch a movie with crude images and simply tell you child “just turn you head for moment” what message are you sending that child? In the child`s mind, because I remember this myself, the child is thinking “one day I will be able to see what is not permitted for me to see today.
​Also, what social media do you give your children access to? I read an article by Brother Aaron Battey titled, “Why I Deleted My Instagram?” In this article the emphasis is placed on crude images that can be seen, and are being sent to both men and women. Now Facebook is getting requests like this. To think that these things will not have an effect on the children growing up is foolish. If what we are doing could cause problem later on for the children isn’t it better and wise to stop now, before a minor problem becomes a serious problem?

​God wants us to look at own spiritual wellness. We read in Judges 2:10 “there arose a generation that knew not God.” All it takes is a little uncleanness to result in the church to bring about a people that “know not God.” All it took for these gentiles to end up in a state of reprobate minds is to let the uncleanness in their lives unchecked.
​We should want children to cultivate a love for the truth in their hearts; a heart that loves the truth and pattern of the Lord. If we don’t teach and show how one “earnestly contends for the faith once delivered” (Jude 3); if we don’t show the example of standing for the Lord those following won’t stand. If an individual or a congregation does not stand for the truth, they are destined for destruction.

Sean Smith



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