Where Are The Miracles?


Part 2



John Hoole - November 7, 2010







Today, we come to the last lesson in our series on Divine Healing.  I believe wholeheartedly in Divine Healing and that it was part of what Christ provided for us on the Cross.  Last week, we began discussing what might be hindrances to seeing miracles in our day.  We addressed three of them in our last lesson.


         •  Lukewarmness hinders the flow of the power of God.


         •  Not recognizing our authority as believers in Christ.


         •  Unforgiveness will block the miraculous hand of God.


Today, we will address additional hindrances.


Lack of Ernest Prayer


Mark 11:15-16 NKJV


15     So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.

16     And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.




If Eyewitness News had interviewed any of the merchants that day, each would have vigorously defended their right to be there.  "We provide an essential service to the worshipers," they would have argued.  "People can't be walking in here with Greek or Roman or Macedonian money.  They have to use the special coins minted here in Jerusalem.  We help people with their currency problems."  But, of course, they were tacking on big-time profits.


There is a huge implication for us in this story.  Jesus is not so impressed with religious activity.  He is concerned not only about whether we are doing God's work, but also how and why we are doing it.  At the judgment, the main question for me will not be how large was the class I taught.  More importantly will be the question, "John why did you teach - and in what spirit?"


The first century money changers were in the temple, but they didn't have the correct spirit of the temple.  They may even have played a legitimate role in assisting people to worship, but they were out of sync with the whole purpose of the Lord's house.  Jesus was saying, "The atmosphere in My Father's house is to be prayer."  "The aroma around my Father must be that of people opening their hearts in worship and supplication.  This is not a place to make a buck - but a house for calling on the Lord."  And whether we are speaking of then or now, this place is not ours, but belongs to the Father.


A moment ago, we read Mark 11:15-16.  Now let's read the following verse.


Mark 11:17 NKJV


17     Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"


Does the Word of God ever say, "My house shall be called a house of music?"  Or does it say, "My house shall be called the house of preaching?"  The feature that is supposed to distinguish the Christian churches and Christian people is that it is bathed in the aroma of prayer.


Have you ever noticed that Jesus launched the Christian church, not while someone was preaching, but while people were praying?  The Book of Acts tells us they were worshiping, communing with God, letting Him shape them and cleanse their spirit.  It was in this setting that the church was born.


Don't get me wrong.  There is a place for teaching and preaching the Word of God.  Jesus preached and taught.  The apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, but only after the Holy Spirit showed up in answer to their prayers.


When you read of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9, be careful not to read to quickly.  God needed a believer to minister to him, now that he had given his life to Christ.  No Christian wanted to get within five blocks of this man, so God had to coax Ananias to go to him.  What did God tell Ananias to get him to go?


Acts 9:11 NKJV


11     So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.


See that last phrase.  God was saying, "It's safe Ananias.  He's praying."


It takes more than academic rigor to win the world for Christ.  Correct doctrine alone is not enough, as good and necessary as that is.  Preaching and teaching aren't enough, though they may be important.  God must be invited to confirm the word with signs following (see Hebrews 2:4).


The apostles prayed for God to do supernatural things.  They wanted people to know their belief was more than theoretical or positional.  There was power in their prayer, "O God, stretch out your hand.."  They wanted (I want) a faith that was obviously alive, a faith based not just on the cross but also on the empty tomb.  In too many churches today, people don't see manifestations of God's power in answer to prayer.


Isn't it somewhat remarkable that only two of the seven churches of Revelation (Thyatira and Pergamum) were scolded for false doctrine?  Far more common was a lack of spiritual vitality, lack of fervency, of closeness to the Lord.  This is what Christ wanted to talk about most.  I am not advocating melodrama or theatrics that work up emotions.  But I am in favor of asking God to stretch out his hand and manifest Himself.


William Law, an English devotional writer of the early 1700s, wrote:


"Read whatever chapter of Scripture you will, and be ever so delighted with it - yet it will leave you as poor, as empty and unchanged as it found you unless it has turned you wholly and solely to the Spirit of God, and brought you into full union with and dependence upon him."


If we do not yearn and pray and expect God to stretch out his hand, and do the supernatural, it will not happen.  That is the simple truth of the matter.  We must give Him room to operate without hindrance.


Charles Finney, the lawyer turned evangelist, once said that as long as an audience kept looking at him while he preached, he knew he was failing.  Only when their heads began to drop in deep conviction of sin did he know that God was working alongside him.


In fact, if you research and investigate the occurrences of revivals anywhere in the world, you will find they have never been dominated by eloquent or clever preaching.  You would find out, in fact, they were birthed more out of times given to prayer, weeping, and repentance rather than to sermons.


If you have studied church history in the United States as I have, you would know of a revival in the mid-1800s called the "Layman's Prayer Revival."  In this revival of 1857 to 1859, there was virtually no preaching at all.  And yet, it apparently produced the greatest harvest of any spiritual awakening in American history.  Estimates run to 1,000,000 converts across the United States, out of a national population at that time of only 30,000,000.  That would proportional to having 11 million converts in America today.


How did this revival happen?  A quiet businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier started a Wednesday noon prayer meeting in a Dutch Reformed church in New York City, just four blocks from Wall Street.  The first week, September 23, 1857, six people showed up.  The next week, twenty came.  The next week, forty ... and they decided to have daily meetings instead.


J. Edwin Orr, one of the greatest authorities on religious revivals according to Billy Graham, said of this revival: "There was no fanaticism, no hysteria, just an incredible movement of people to pray."  He adds: "The services were not given over to preaching.  Instead, anyone was free to pray."


During the fourth week of these prayer meetings, the financial Panic of 1857 hit.  The bond market crashed, and the first banks failed.  Within a month, more than 1,400 banks had collapsed.


People began calling out to God more seriously than ever.  Lanphier's church started having three noontime prayer meetings in different rooms.  John Street Methodist Church, a few doors east of Broadway, was packed out as well.  Soon Burton's Theater on Chambers Street was jammed with 3,000 people each noon.


The scene was soon replicated in Boston,, New Haven, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and the South.  By the next spring 2,000 Chicagoans were gathering each day in the Metropolitan Theater to pray.  A young 21-year-old in those meetings, newly arrived in the city, felt his first call to do Christian work.  He wrote his mother back East that he was going to start a Sunday school class.  His name was Dwight L. Moody.


Does anyone really think that America today is lacking preachers, books, or Bible translations?  What we really lack is the passion to call upon the Lord until he opens heaven and shows Himself powerful.  Let me make a bold - maybe controversial - statement.  Christianity is not predominantly a teaching religion.  The North American church has made the sermon the centerpiece of the meeting rather than the throne of grace.  If we seldom spend time in the throne room, seldom will see the miraculous manifestations of the Holy Spirit.


Wrong confession will hinder healing and miracles


 Matthew 12:34 tells us, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."


What people say reveals what people believe.  Some people want healing but defeat the process with the foolish or unbelieving things they confess with their own mouth.  Some say, "I guess I'll just have to live with this," or "Maybe the Lord is trying to teach me something."  These words are not biblical.  Those are not statements made from a position of faith.


We need to remember that speaking faith - or speaking the Word of God - is not unrealistic.  Some people think they are not being honest when they talk about healing that hasn't happened yet.  What do we do with the statement of God who calls those things that are not as though they were.


Romans 4:17 NIV


17     As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed — the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.


God speaks of those things that do not exist yet as though they did.  As His children, made in His wonderful image, we can talk like our Father.  If we proclaim the Word of God, then we can speak it and declare it.


The Bible says that both "death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21)Joel 3:10 tells us, Let the weak say 'I am strong'."  And Hebrews 6:12 adds, "Through faith and patience we inherit the promises."


What we declare from our mouth affects the spiritual atmosphere in which we live.  Be careful what you speak.  Just as speaking the Word of God reinforces a spirit of faith, so speaking words of doubt or natural reasoning reinforces a spirit of doubt.  Proverbs 6:2 says, "You are snared by the words of your mouth."  This is more than the power of positive feeling.  It is the power of godly confession.  It is declaring that it is always God's will to heal.  We need to speak the Word of God.  And we need to act upon the Word of God.  And we need to attack the devil with the Word of God.


Jeremiah 1:12 NASU


12     Then the Lord said to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it."


Speak God's Word.  He is watching over it to perform it.


Healing is hindered by our traditions


In Matthew 15:6, we find Christ telling the Jewish teachers of His day, "You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition."  I believe this also occurs in our day.


A)  God is the author of disease. and has made us sick.


It is a mystery how any Christian can hold this view.  In an earlier lesson, titled: Where does sickness come from?" we learned that all sickness comes from the devil.  1 John 3:8 tells us that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  Nowhere do we see Jesus putting sickness on anyone.  Acts 10:38 informs us that Jesus healed "all who were oppressed of the devil."  If sickness has been put on us by God, would it not be a sin to go to the doctors.  Wouldn't we be going against the will of God to seek medical help if our sickness was God's will?


B)  We can glorify God more by remaining sick


Yes it is possible to glorify God in any situation.  But the Bible tells us repeatedly that people glorified God following a healing by Christ.  Yes, we can have patience during difficult times.  Yes we can be a good example to unbelievers during our illness.  If a person can glorify God more while being sick than while being well, then Jesus did not hesitate to rob his Father of much glory by His healing them.


C)  It is not God will to heal all


If God's promises to heal are not for all, then no person can ascertain the will of God for Himself from the Bible.  If Jesus healed all that came to Him, or were brought to Him, has He now changed and will not heal everyone that comes to Him today.  Every believer knows that God CAN heal, and has healed some.  But, for some reason, we have accepted the teaching that it might not be His will for all.  It IS God's will to heal.


D)  Believing that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was a physical infirmity or sickness


2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV


7       To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.


I do not believe Paul's "thorn" was a physical illness.  You get your first clue when you read in this verse that the "thorn" was "a messenger of Satan."  The word "Messenger" is translated from the Greek word, ANGELOS.  That word can be translated either messenger or angel.  Most likely, this thorn was a demon from the devil.


Also, the phrase, "thorn in the flesh," or something similar, is never, in either the Old or New Testament, used to reference a physical sickness.  I every time such an expression is used, we are told exactly what t5he "thorn in the flesh" was.


Numbers 33:55 NKJV


55     But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell.


Here the Scripture tell us the "pricks in the eyes" and the "thorns" in the sides of the Israelites were the inhabitants of the land of Canaan.  It doesn't mean the Israelites had physical eye problems or a illness in their sides.


Also, Joshua, eight years later, says, in the 23rd chapter of his book, that the Canaanites, if not driven from the land, would be scourges in their sides and thorns in their eyes.  Here, again, we are told precisely who the thorns were.


In 2 Samuel 23:6 (KJV), we have some of the last words of David.  But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns,...  Again, we are told exactly who the thorns are - the sons of Belial.


I would invite anyone to study these and other Passages that use these kinds of phrases.  You will find every one of them give specific knowledge as to whom they are referring.  They are always referring to a person of groups of persons.


The Greek word ANGELOS is found in the Bible 188 times.  181 of those is translated "angel" and the other 7 as "messenger.”  In all cases, it is referring to a person(s).


Looking for miracles in the wrong places


When people ask why we don't have more manifestations of the Holy Spirit, they are usually thinking about the normal church services.  We should expect manifestations of the power of God there.  But that is not the only place.


1 Corinthians 14 makes it clear there were prophetic utterances as well as tongues and interpretation in the congregational setting.  And it was in a congregational gathering that the miracle of Eutychus' restoration to life took place (Acts 20:9-12)But we make a mistake if that is the only place where miracles and healing are to occur.


Often a manifestation is needed in a church business meeting.  We should not put our spiritual life in neutral just because we are having a business meeting.  And when a major doctrinal issue arose, in Acts 15, Luke recorded the chairman's conclusions.  James, the brother of Christ, said, "it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us." (vs. 28)  We are not told how the Holy Spirit manifested Himself, but the congregation knew He was pleased with the decision.  It is important to be filled with the Spirit in the home as well as in the congregational setting.  The Holy Spirit may wish to manifest himself there.


A miracle occurred in a home in Joppa when Dorcas was raised from the dead (Acts 9:36-41).  It was in the home of Simon the tanner where Peter received guidance through a vision (Acts 10:9).  In a home on the island of Melita, the Spirit gave a gift of healing to Publius' father.  The apostle Paul was the instrument through whom the gift was given (Acts 28:7-9).


Looking to the wrong people for miracles


Sometimes when believers long for the manifestation of spiritual gifts of healing or miracles, they look to people who have previously been the Spirit's instrument.  It is important to remember that gifts of the Spirit reside in the Holy Spirit and not in the person He uses.  The gifts are manifestations of the Spirit.


1 Corinthians 12:7 NKJV


7       But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:


Verse 11 adds:


         But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.


Rather than looking to people, it is important to look to the Holy Spirit.  People that come to a man of God more than they come to God may be severely disappointed.


So, why isn't everyone prayed for healed?


I don't know why everyone prayed for is not healed, any more than I know why everyone prayer for isn't saved.  Just because someone has heard the gospel of salvation does not guarantee their salvation.  But they at least have had the message given to them, and are now responsible for that knowledge.


Similarly, people deserve to hear the good news of the fact that both salvation and healing are provided in the Cross of Jesus Christ.  Isaiah, Matthew and 1 Peter link the provision of healing to the stripes and burdens that Jesus Christ bore for us in His suffering on the cross.  They say "By His stripes we are (were) healed," or "He took up our illnesses."


Because not all may seem to grasp or fully appropriate all the healing that the Cross provides, does not mean we should cower from offering the message of hope.  My personal feeling is that it is more biblical to pray for healing than not to.


But someone may ask, "what do you say to a person when they are not healed?"


Well, first tell them that God doesn't love them any less.  Secondly, I would tell them that I do not love them any less because healing did not come.  The absence of healing is not the absence of God's ability.  Somehow, we may not see the whole picture from God's perspective.  But I still believe in Divine Healing.




The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.  Some time, we must realize that we are ordinary people connected to a supernatural God.  And we have been called to do extraordinary things.  The Holy Spirit is the power that is available to us.


The Holy Spirit is the resource from Heaven to get the job done.  He is the Holy Spirit that wants to work through your life and our church.  He is the same Holy Spirit that moved that move upon the face of the earth in creation.  He's the same Holy Spirit that was upon Moses when he parted the Red Sea.  He's the same Holy Spirit that came upon Joshua to cross the Jordan River, and then to shout to bring down the walls of Jericho.


He's the same Holy Spirit that came upon Samson after his hair grew back and he defeated the Philistines.  He's the same Holy Spirit that came upon Deborah when she annihilated the enemies of God.  He's the same Holy Spirit that came upon a little boy named Samuel and he was a prophet unto the nations.  He's the same Holy Spirit that came upon David when he first took down the lion and bear, then he took down Goliath.


He's the same Holy Spirit that rested upon Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and the prophets.  He's the same Holy Spirit that came upon a virgin teenager and she miraculously conceived the Son of God.  He is the same Holy Spirit that flowed through Jesus in miracle-working power when he walked on planet earth.  He's the same Holy Spirit that came on the day of Pentecost, when 120 were praying, and the wind blew, and the fire came, and Peter got up and preached his first sermon.  He's the same Holy Spirit that came upon Paul and Silas and at the midnight hour, they were not complaining, they began to sing songs of praise, and their praise brought an earthquake, and the chains fell off and doors came open.


And that same Holy Spirit is living in the lives of you and me.  We are the temples of the Holy Spirit.  We are the channels of His power.  Do you believe that?


We are possessed of a power that is not of this world.  And the Holy Spirit is not limited by natures laws.  The Holy Spirit is not limited by man's power and authority.  The Holy Spirit is not limited by man's opinion.  But the Holy Spirit is released by the believer's prayer and holiness.  Miracles today are in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV


20     Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

21     to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.