#329 Christmas Miracles Series# 1, Purpose of Miracles

Christmas Miracles Series# 1, Purpose of Miracles
By: Pastor Cheryl Thomas

A miracle is an event in the external world brought about by the simple volition of God.

God ordinarily effects his purpose through the agency of second causes; but he has the power also of effecting his purpose immediately and without the intervention of second causes, i.e., of invading the fixed order, and thus of working miracles.

It is an occurrence above nature and above man. It shows the intervention of a power that is not limited by the laws either of matter or of mind, a power interrupting the fixed laws which govern their movements, a supernatural power.

OT no less than 66 miracles
Jesus 37 miracle – john said if we were to try to record the miracles there would not be enough books in the world to contain His works.

In the New Testament these four Greek words are principally used to designate miracles:

1. Semeion, “sign”, i.e., an evidence of a divine commission; an attestation of a divine message; a token of the presence and working of God; the seal of a higher power.
2. Terata, “wonders;” wonder-causing events; producing astonishment in the beholder
3.Dunameis, “might works;” works of superhuman power; of a new and higher power.
4. Erga, “works;” the works of Him who is “wonderful in working”

So Why Miracles what is the purpose of miracles

  • The writers of scripture appealed to them as proofs that they were messengers of God.
  • Miracles are seals of a divine mission. Jesus said, “I have a greater witness than John my teaching and my miracles. John 5:36… “
  • Jesus also appealedto miracles as a conclusive proof of his divine mission (John 5:203610:2538).
  • They are conveyed the presence and power of God.
  • Where miracles are there certainly God
  • Miracles are learning experiences for us, the point to something that God wasn’t us to know or believe about himself.
  • They reveal the glory of God John 2:11- weeding Cana – thus Jesus revealed his glory

Miracles I have witnessed

  • Salvation/ transformation
  • Words of knowledge
  • Healing

So, as we approach this season of Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ it is fitting we talk about miracles. And it goes without saying that the annunciation and birth of the greatest miracle worker be suffused with signs and wonders.

List of Miracles Surrounding Christs birth

  • 5 angelic visitations
    • Gabriel- Zachariah
    • Gabriel- Mary
    • Angel- tells Joseph what Mary says is True
    • Angel- appears to Shepherd
    • Angel- tells Joseph to Egypt
  • The silencing of an unbelieving priest
  • The restraint of Gabriel to not smote Zachariah
  • A barren woman of old age, conceives, and gives birth
  • At the sound of Mary’s greeting the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped and Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit
  • The mute priest receives speech at the announcement of the name of John
  • A young virgin conceives and gives birth to messiah
  • Wise men see the star
  • Wise men warned to go home another way in a vision
  • Simeon led by spirit to temple on day of presentation… and prophesies “I have seen the salvation you have prepared for all you people”

However, as wonderful as those are the most fundamental miracle is the Incarnation, God becomes man, the WORD is made flesh and dwells among us.

The great joy of Christmas is inseparably bound with the fact of His incarnation.

Three of the four Gospels begin their record of Jesus’ work by emphasizing the wonder of his incarnation. Matthew records how Jesus was miraculously conceived in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that he was “God with us.”

The Apostle Paul recounts the incarnation in Philippians…
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

C.S. Lewis called the incarnation “the Grand Miracle.” He wrote: “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation…. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this…. It was the central event in the history of the Earth—the very thing that the whole story has been about” (Miracles, chapter 14).

Pope John Paul says of the incarnation that it, “surpasses all the miraculous happenings connected with Christ’s messianic mission. It may be said that the Incarnation is the “miracle of miracles,” the radical and permanent “miracle” of the new order of creation… To the eyes of faith, it becomes a sign incomparably superior to all the other miraculous signs of the divine presence and action in the world . . . [2] Pope John Paul 1988

“Twas much, that man was made like God before, But that God should be like man much more

John Donne.

St. Alphonsus

“…the singular love of God towards Man…”

“…all greatness together is but the smallest atom…”

“…God and clay, majesty and weakness…”

“…to raise us, he lowered himself…”

The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding. Martin Luther, Table Talk.

He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still…[to] the womb…down to the very roots of the Nature He has created. He becomes an embryo, a fetus, a child, an adolescent, a young man… a son, a brother, a friend.

Born of a woman, Jesus ate food, slept, experienced temptation, he could perspire, bleed, and display human emotions.

He went through puberty, experienced loss, betrayal, denial, and abandonment.

  • In one moment, one seemingly insignificant measurement on the span of time, “The Word became flesh”.
  • The undiminished Deity became humanity
  • The one for whom are all things and by whom are all things, became a thing —like you and me—God with us.
  • The invisible God became the visible, touchable, pierce-able, whip-able, nail-able, Emanuel—God with us.
  • Divinity took on the garb of humanity so that depravity might be rendered savable.
  • True grace appeared and we received grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
  • The personification of truth was revealed and now we no longer stumble in darkness.
  • God became a man. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
  • The incarnation is one of the is one of the most important features of Christianity.
  • The incarnation expresses the belief that God has made himself known full, specifically and personally, by taking our human nature into himself, by coming amongst us as a particular man.
  • The Incarnation is God with us- Mathew 1:35
  • The Incarnation is God deciding to dwell with us- John 1:14

It is Christ joining himself to us so we can be joined to him.

It is Christ taking on our nature so that we can participate in his nature.

God–in–the–flesh fleshes out for us what it means for God to love us sacrificially.

The incarnation is one direction from God to man, He acts alone and of his own accord, it is God’s gracious act on our behalf.

Torrance writes, “we must think of [Christ’s] incarnate life and his redeeming activity as completely interwoven from his conception and birth to his crucifixion and resurrection.” And again, “Incarnation and atonement intrinsically locked into one another constitute the one continuous movement of God’s saving love for the world.”

We cannot separate the cross from the incarnation…him taking on our humanness, and living life among us is as importantly missional as the cross.

The incarnation and atonement intrinsically locked into one another constitute the one continuous movement of God’s saving love for the world.” 

The Incarnation is the Revelation of God, it is the absolute disclosure of God.

Hebrews 1:1-3 (AMP)
God, having spoken to the fathers long ago in [the voices and writings of] the prophets in many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the truth], and in many ways, has in these last days spoken [with finality] to us in [the person of One who is by His character and nature] His Son [namely Jesus], whom He appointed heir and lawful owner of all things, through whom also He created the universe [that is, the universe as a space-time-matter continuum]. The Son is the radiance and only expression of the glory of [our awesome] God [reflecting God’s [a]Shekinah glory, the Light-being, the brilliant light of the divine], and the exact representation and perfect imprint of His [Father’s] essence, and upholding and maintaining and propelling all things [the entire physical and spiritual universe] by His powerful word [carrying the universe along to its predetermined goal]. When He [Himself and no other] had [by offering Himself on the cross as a sacrifice for sin] accomplished purification from sins and established our freedom from guilt…”

God, having spoken to the fathers long ago in [the voices and writings of] the prophets in many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the truth], and in many ways…visions, dreams, angels, miracles, prophets…a portion of the truth…

When God spoke in the past it was glimpses, partial truths

But in these last days with finality he has spoken in the person of His Son.

The purpose of the Incarnation is God wants to Say Something of Himself, he wants to communicate the final word regarding Himself and he accomplishes this through His Son.

Jesus said, He who has seen me has seen the Father.”  John 14:9

John said, “No one has seen God, but the unique one who is himself God is near to the Father. He has reveal God to us.” John 1: 18

Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30- they were unified, thus being in complete harmony regarding his mission of doing good deeds and drawing disciples to himself. 

Jesus reveals the Glory of God 

Verse 3-The Son is the radiance and only expression of the glory of [our awesome] God [reflecting God’s [a]Shekinah glory, the Light-being, the brilliant light of the divine],

  • perfectly reflects the majesty of God;
  • Miracles reveal glory of God
  • John 2:1-11 wedding Cana. verse 11 he thus revealed his glory
  • Read off miracles
  • Jesus is God’s NEON SIGN Radiating in a dark place.

Jesus reveals the Character of God

Verse 3- “and the exact representation and perfect imprint of His [Father’s] essence…” AMP

“he exact imprint of his nature” ESV
“express image of his person” KJV

He is love
“God is love.” 1 John 4:8

He is a giver-
John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he gave his Son

He is a promise Keeper-
Romans 15:8- Christ came to show God’s truthfulness and confirm his promises.
Hebrew 10:23- For God can be trusted to keep his promises

He is Grace – John 1:17- the law was given through Moses but God’s grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

He is rich in mercy – Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”

He is a refuge

[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. – Romans 8:1

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love

Psalm 62:8 “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
We can’t separate the incarnation from Cross— all of his life points to the character of God. From the incarnation to the resurrection.

Jesus reveals the desire of God

Verse 3- When He [Himself and no other] had [by offering Himself on the cross as a sacrifice for sin] accomplished purification from sins and established our freedom from guilt, He sat down [revealing His completed work]

Nothing could be more clearly documented in the Scriptures than the fact that the principle purpose of the incarnation was to save men from their sins:

For the son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10; cf. Matt. 9:13; Mark 10:45).

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4-5).

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all (I Tim. 1:15; cf. I Jn. 4:10). For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. so then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men (Romans 5:17-18).

How does this apply to me?

1 John 4:17 “… as he is so are we in this world.”

Colossians 2:9-10Amplified Bible (AMP)

For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature].

10 And you [a]are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].

I dare say our lives are a continuation of the incarnation… God in flesh and with us…

As those in Christ we too can be God’s final statement
To reveal his glory
To reveal his character
To reveal his desire for those who are lost, those that you eat with, work with do life with

If the incarnation is the grand miracle… then as those in Christ let us continue in the miracle of the incarnation of Christ.

You and I are to be God’s NEON signs flashing in dark places.

Here in the Christmas season, there will be a lot of pious platitudes thrown around– Christmas is all about the F’s– family, food, fellowship, presents we give to ourselves.

Those things have become part of Christmas, but they are certainly not the essence of the matter. But at the heart Christmas is the miracles and announcement of good news. of Incarnation is total self-sacrifice, total self-giving, becoming a servant of others for the sake of their redemption.

Let’s you and I be the miracle that people need this Christmas


1 Reply to "#329 Christmas Miracles Series# 1, Purpose of Miracles"

  • John Watt
    December 4, 2017 (11:55 am)
    Reply

    Excellent sermon Pastor Cheryl. Watched it live from home on Sunday(am housebound due to complications from eye surgery) and watched it again today from the archives. Well researched and powerfully presented.


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