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  • Rick LoPresti

True miracles

Christians think of humanity without Christ as carnal, and this is true (Jn 3:3-8, Rom 8, 1Cor 1-2, etc.). However, we are created in the image of God (Gen 1:27), and as such there is an innate need in everyone to connect with their Creator (Rom 1:20, Rom 12:3). When we do not feed our spiritual man with a relationship with the one true God who alone can make us complete (Col 2:8-12), we substitute with other things, and there are many substitutes. One example is a bar. The patrons are a substitute for fellow Christians, the bar for the altar, the bartender for the pastor, the food for the word of God, the music and dancing for worship, and the alcohol for the Spirit of God. They even call the drinks spirits. Some people attend the bar weekly (or even more) instead of attending church gatherings. Even when we try to fill ourselves with earthly, carnal things, there is a deep drive in us for the spiritual. That is why we see such popularity in films and shows about “paranormal” activity and zombies. Strong fascination with belief in aliens is also a substitute for the spiritual things of God. The search for life on other planets and other planets to live on are like the people of the tower of Babel trying to build their own world and their own way of salvation without God (Gen 11).

God provides all of the spiritual experiences we need when we put our faith in Him and follow His word. He has not retired or gone on a sabbatical from doing miracles. They happen all the time everywhere. Some people choose to see them and others choose to ignore or dismiss them, but when they do they will surely try to replace them with something else. There is no spiritual vacuum. Sometimes the things they choose to believe take much more faith than the word of God does. There are false miracles or “lying wonders”, especially in these last days approaching the return of the Lord (Mt 24:24, 2Thes 2:9, Rev 13:3 & 13-15). There are charlatans who “perform” fake miracles, but there are also supernatural powers in the demonic realm. For example, when God sent Moses with miraculous power to Pharaoh, the magicians of Egypt were able to copy the first three miracles he performed. When the rod of Moses turned into a serpent, so did theirs (Ex 7:11-12), although Moses’ serpent ate theirs. When God turned the water into blood, so did they (Ex 7:22). When God sent frogs, so did they (Ex 8:7). However, from the lice on, they could not replicate (Ex 8:18-19). Christians should not marvel at supernatural displays. They should expect to see them. Signs follow believers (Mk 16:17).

So, how do we discern between true and false miracles? There are at least three main ways we can. First, signs confirm the word of God (Mk 16:20). Any miracle which is not in accordance with the principles of the holy scriptures and does not lead people into Biblical faith is not from God. The Lord will never contradict Himself. He is not the author of confusion (1Cor 14:33). The context of that verse is the operation of spiritual gifts, particularly speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues in a gathering of Christians. Second, miracles from God are to meet specific needs, not to show off (Lk 4:18). There are many reported miracles that are superficial in nature and meet no real needs. The devil tempted Jesus to use His power in ways that would violate the scriptures, and He refused (Mt 4:1-11). Specifically, the devil tempted Him to jump off the pinnacle of the temple so He could show off how the Father would protect Him. Jesus refused. Third, true miracles always direct us to faith in Jesus Christ (Mt 11:20-23, Jn 4:48, Jn 20:31). Any spiritual experience that does not directly glorify the name of Jesus Christ is not of God.

Last, we should not follow miracles. Miracles should follow us as we follow the Bible (Mk 16:17 & 20). A wicked and adulterous generation seeks a sign (Mt 12:38-39). The most important thing in the end is not how many miracles we saw, but if we obeyed the commandments of the Lord (Mt 7:22-23). The rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn his family to escape hell, but Abraham said that if they did not believe the scriptures, no miracle, even a resurrection, would suffice (Lk 16:39-41). Jesus rose from the dead, but many chose not to believe, not because He did not do enough miracles to substantiate who He is, but because they rejected His word (Jn 8:31-47, Jn 10:24-27, Jn 12:37-38). The main priority of the church is to spread the word of God which will be confirmed by miracles (Mk 16:17, Acts 4:29-33, Acts 6:7-8, Acts 8:6, Acts 13:12, Acts 14:3, Rom 15:18-21, 1Cor 1:5-6, 1Cor 14, Heb 2:3-4). Sound doctrine is spiritual, and will do more to make us like Him, to do His will, and to get us into eternal life, than any miracle, and there is nothing more dangerous than false doctrine (Mt 16:12, Rom 16:17, Eph 4:14, Col 2:22, 1Tim 1:3, 1Tim 4:1, 1Tim 6:3, 2Tim 4:3, Heb 13:9, 2Jn 9-11). That does not mean we shun miracles, but we prioritize the word of God and have a healthy balance.


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