New Hope Notes
Visible and Invisible Miracles
Pastor Jon Burgess
Visible and Invisible Miracles
Pastor John Burgess
October 19 & 20, 2019
Welcome, New Hope!
As we kick off our message today, Visible and Invisible Miracles in the series Everyday Miracles, how many are hungry to have a miracle from God happen in your life, and you're not settling for anything else—you want miracles in your life that’s in the Book of Acts?
Let me share something that I did as a child—a picture of child-like faith: After reading about Jesus and Peter walking on water, I decided that I could walk on water too. I tried it once on the pool and once in a lake, only to realize that all I could do was to sit on the bottom! It didn’t work, but I tried!
I believe it is human nature to want to see a miracle so much, that if we don’t see one, we manufacture one! I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous things on eBay, such as, Cheetos made in the shape of a crucifix, a banana peel with an image of the face of Jesus on it, and even Jesus’ face on a fish stick. People are so desperate to see proof that God is real and that scripture is true, that they’re willing to see Him in anything!
Here’s the truth: If you want to see Jesus and have a relationship with Him, seek His face, not His hand to see what He can give you, but His face! In reading the scriptures, we find that Jesus is the visible picture of the invisible supernatural God—the one who actually makes miracles happen—is Jesus!
Colossians 1:15-20 NIV says, “15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (God is literally holding the molecules together; otherwise, we would split apart. Scientists can't explain how they are held together because the molecules should be opposing each other! Someone may be having difficulty holding things together in your life—the Good News is that you don't have to because Jesus is literally holding everything together.) 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
As Christians, we should understand what it means to be followers of Christ’s example, with a resolve to pursue the presence of God—there is no room for passive Christian faith! As we move into Luke chapter 5, we see the determination of four men in pursuit of the healing power of Jesus for their paralyzed friend—apowerful story of how you and I can live expecting everyday miracles!
1. Invisible Miracles Require A Resolve To Be Involved In The Process
Luke 5:17-19 NIV says, “17 One day (make this that day) Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. (The word power in Greek is dunamis or dynamite—so the same dunamis power, through the same spirit that was on Jesus is the same dunamis that's on us when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and are filled with His spirit—means that we can see the same miracles!)" 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.”
Many invisible miraclesare going on here, leading to a very visible miracle. Let's not miss the fact that we have four men actually agreeing on something at the same time—that itself is a miracle! Instead of just sitting and saying, “Our friend will never get better,” they agree and say, “Hey, if there's any way that he's going to be better, it will be because of this man, Jesus!”
Maybe your thoughts are like mine at times: “What if this never changes? This is a waste of time. I don’t even know if anything is going to happen.” I’m hoping you grab hold of this invisible miracle. Scripture doesn’t tell us how long this man had been paralyzed, and they had every reason to believe that it wasn’t going to change; but they said, “We’re going to hold him up to the power of Jesus.” (When we lift up our prayers to God, we do the same!)
An invisible miracle happens when we refuse to just sit on our problem; instead, we take action, and bring the problem before the Lord our God! I'm hoping you grab hold of this because prayers are invisible and your head may go the same way mine does: “Nothing is happening. This is a total waste of time. I'm talking to the walls here. I don't even know if anything is going to happen. I've been praying this prayer forever.” And we just sit—but I’m here to remind you, “Never underestimate the power of your prayers!”
Sometimes we may not want to hope again because we've been let down so many times, so it's an invisible miracle that this man went along with his friends! He already feels ashamed, feels that he can't contribute to society, and can't provide for his family—if he has one.
The invisible miracle is that his friends were willing to push past the visible obstacles tosee an invisible miracle! How many of us would turn around right before a breakthrough in your marriage, or between you and the child that you're always arguing with, or in your finances. I hope you’re catching this because God is stirring up an expectation in this place to press past all the distractions, obstructions, discouragements, and dirty looks people are giving you. Stir up your expectation for a miracle! Refuse to go backwards—breakthrough is coming!
Imagine for a moment—the men bypassed the hoard of people also seeking to have their needs met by Jesus. The book of Mark tells us that the four friends dismantled the tiles of the roof to lower their paralyzed friend down somehow. They risked ridicule from the crowd; not only that, the Pharisees (the leaders of religious law) could have done a number of things to the men should they find fault in their actions. Now, after all this, how would Jesus respond? He was in the middle of giving words of life, and here is this wild interruption! Would He be angry? Would He even be willing to help them after such a charade?!
God may be stirring you up to understand that you, too, can be resolute with the child you are always arguing with, the finances that seem to never get better, and with a marriage that is failing to a point the four men must’ve been just before they broke through the roof—for your breakthrough too!
2. Visible Miracles Are A Restoration Of The Natural Through The Supernatural
Many see miracles as an interruption of the natural—but may I remind you of the natural order of God: It's that Jesus will ultimately restore the earth when He brings a new heaven and a new earth—the Garden of Eden! Were there any sickness, pain, heartache, and suffering in the Garden of Eden? No, they just walked with God—uninterrupted, unhindered, incredibly intimate, and powerful--until sin entered, and completely destroyed the natural order that God meant for His people! In the meantime, we can walk in the same authority and power that Jesus did as in…
Luke 5:20-23 NIV says, “20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” 21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”
Jesus didn't say victim. He didn't say interrupter. He didn't say paralytic. He said friend! Some of you have been defined by your weaknesses for most of your life, but in the presence of Jesus you're not a bother to Him. You're not an interruption to Him. You're not disappointing Him. You're not letting Him down. You're His friend, and He's so glad you're here!
Do you believe that? Until you do, you 'll put up a wall and stay at home because it’s embarrassing to admit your needs and problems, thinking that God has better things to deal with.
Look back again at the story: The paralytic is lowered—some pictures show him lowered horizontally, but that would have taken forever to break through that much of the tile roof. So more than likely, he's lowered vertically through a hole they made—removing tiles to dig through. Can you imagine how awkward he must have felt, pushing past the embarrassment of what anyone was saying, just to be face to face with Jesus! We all have problems, and Jesus is the only one that can heal them.
And some of us, because we haven't seen a miracle yet, aren’t so sure that He really loves us or else He would have taken care of this situation. I mean, we've all thought that. That’s the reason Jesus led with forgiveness over just a miraculous healing. Each of us needs to understand that the greatest miracle that's ever happened to us has already happened—it's called…
3. Forgiveness Is The Greatest Miracle Of All
Luke 5:25-26 NIV says, “24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.’”
We must wrestle through whatever doubts or fears we have—it shouldn’t be that you just want to see a miracle. It’s more personal and deeper than that—Jesus has forgiven me! I don't even deserve that. I don't deserve eternal life, but He literally died so that I could be forgiven. I deserve an eternity in hell, but He saved and forgave me! That’s a miracle of the overwhelming generosity of our God!
Here is a reminder: We should be a grateful people—grateful for another day to live in the ever-present miracle that we are friends of God! We are forgiven because of what He has done for us. I pray that this understanding would motivate us to believe for the impossible (and rather than asking God to prove himself, or doubt Him if He doesn’t show us a miracle) to believe that “I’m forgiven!” Once we receive that, we can believe for anything! The healing of the paralytic man actually wasn't just for him, but it was for us too. Are you be willing to go into the presence of Jesus just to receive what He has for you—all the invisible miracles leading up to this moment right here!