Where Are The Miracles?


Part One


John Hoole - October 31, 2010







It's pretty clear from certain Scriptures that God wants us well.  Healing is found in one of God's own names in Exodus 15:26, and Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  Jesus consistently showed God's mercy and compassion by healing all who came to Him with even a little faith, and the apostles and early church continued this ministry.


In Isaiah 53:4-5, the prophet Isaiah talked about Jesus bearing our sicknesses and carrying our diseases in his substitutionary atonement for us, and that with his stripes we are healed.  This makes healing part of our salvation purchased at the cross.  It makes sense because the words for salvation and healing are the same in the New Testament.  David said that the Lord “forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:3), while John wrote that “I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (3 John 2)James promised in the case of sick people “the prayer of faith will heal the sick,” while Jesus promised that in His name, believers “shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18).


Jesus said that we could speak to any mountain (including sickness) and it will move if we don't doubt.  In Acts 10:38, Peter identified sickness clearly as the work of the devil, while John said that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).


Taken together, these and other Scriptures make it pretty clear that God wants people well.  But if all this be so, why do so many still fail to receive healing, even amongst those who seek it through Jesus Christ.  There are answers to this question.  This is not a new phenomenon.


This is not the first time in history that circumstances led God’s people to wonder whether or not God could continue his powerful work in their generation.  We have such an occasion mentioned in the Bible.  It occurred in the time of Gideon, when he was called into leadership by God.


Judges 6:12-13  (NAS) speaks of Gideon:


12     And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior."

13     Then Gideon said to him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian."


Here we have Gideon, who lived in a generation that had not witnessed the miraculous power of God.  All they had was stories from their fathers and grandfathers about a time when miracles were operative within the nation of Israel.  Sounds a lot like some congregations in our generation today.


Let me ask you a question.




Our question, I believe, is really centered around the Western church - here in America.  We hear of mighty miracles in other places - but why not here?


1.    A lukewarm heart will hinder the power of the Holy Spirit


A lukewarm Christian is one that is not totally sold out to Jesus (Mark 12:30-31).  They compromise with the world - having one foot in each the world and God's kingdom.  Lukewarmness occurs when people are not totally committed to Jesus.  Being lukewarm is a barrier to healing and other miracles we pray for.  This is a real problem in the Western church.


But it has been a problem in Bible times as well.


2 Chronicles 25:1-2 NIV


1       Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Jehoaddin; she was from Jerusalem.

2       He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly.


Did you catch that last verse?  He did everything that was right in the eyes of the Lord.  But he did not do it with his whole heart. 


                   The New King James Version reads, "but not with a loyal heart."

                   The New American Standard reads: "yet not with a whole heart."

                   The King James Version reads: "but not with a perfect heart."

                   The Message reads: "but he was not wholeheartedly devoted to God."


In today's language, we might say that Amaziah was "playing church."  He went to church, paid his tithes, sang in the choir, but he did it not out of devotion to God, but out of show to people.  Amaziah did not serve God with his whole heart.


Another verse in 2 Chronicles instructs us in what God requires for His power to be released.


2 Chronicles 16:9 KJV


9       For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.


Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.  This verse tells us that if we want God to show Himself mighty on our behalf, we must have a "perfect heart."  And we are told in this verse that God is looking for opportunities to show Himself strong.  We serve a God of miracles who is more willing to give than we are to receive.


Jesus said, in Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heard, for they shall see God."  He did not say, "Blessed are those who have a successful ministry."  He said that without a pure heart you will not see God.  And, of course, Jesus is the only one who can give us a pure heart.  It is not something we can earn.  It is both priceless and free - Priceless in that it required the death of God's Son, and free in that it is given without cost to all who will seek Him.


Let me ask you another question.




Yes, it is the church in the ancient biblical city of Laodicea, in Revelation 3.  In fact it is the only place where the word, lukewarm, is found in the Bible.


Allow me to spend a little time discussing what is said to the church in Laodicea.  I think being lukewarm hinders the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in America today.  We have in some cases allowed the world's system to be integrated with Christianity.  Like Laodicea, we have become highly materialistic, and, like them, we are prone to try our own resources that the resources of God.


The letter to the church at Laodicea is found in Revelation 3:14-22.  This is the last of the seven letters to the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2 & 3.  This letter to the Laodicean church contains our Lord’s harshest appraisal of all the 7 churches.  Unlike most, if not all the others, He offers no commendations to this church


This would not have come as a surprise if we had been very careful to noticed how Christ begins his letters for each of the prior 6 churches.  He says “the church in Ephesus” or “the church in Smyrna” or “the church in Philadelphia.”  But here, in both English and Greek, He changes the words.  He doesn’t say “the church in Laodicea.”  Rather, He says, “the church of the Laodiceans.”  This is a pointed variation, when you consider the meaning of the word “Laodicea.”  It means “the justice of the people” or “the rule of the people.”  This church had become dependent on themselves.  They had become less and less a church belonging to Christ.  Like Laodicea, the church in America has become self-sufficient.


I love how practical God is.  He speaks through the apostle John to each of the 7 churches of Asia Minor using language and metaphors that would have easily been understood by the congregations.


Another question:  How many of you like your coffee hot?  How many like your drinking water or soft drink cold?  Today I am going to give you a lesson in Thermodynamics.  Thermodynamics has to do with the physical laws concerning temperature.  More specifically, how objects or processes react to changing temperatures.


There are actually 3 laws of Thermodynamics.  One of the laws says that everything is moving toward the same temperature.  That is, if you put several objects that have different temperatures in the same environment, they will all affect each other and all will eventually go to the same temperature.


So, if you unplug a very hot electric flying pan and plunge it into a sink of cold water, what happens?  The pressure cooker cools down and the water heats up and after only a little while they are both at the same temperature.  Then, let’s say you want it a little cooler, so you throw some ice cubes into the sink – what happens now?  The ice will get warmer and melt, but it will also cool down the warmer water and the pressure cooker.  And, again, after a little while, the temperature of everything in that sink is the same.  That’s thermodynamics in a nutshell.


That’s all well and good if you don’t care that the pan is cooled and the ice is warmed to the point of melting.  But, if you want to eat hot food or drink cold water, you have just created a problem.  And this is exactly one of the major problems of the church at Laodicea.  But it was also a problem the city had.


In spite of its prosperity, the city had a major strategic weakness – it lacked an adequate water supply source.  So they constructed aqueducts to bring water from two sources.


•  There were hot mineral springs about 6 miles north in Hierapolis.  These waters were used for their healing properties.


•  There were also icy cold waters from springs 8 miles to the southeast in Colossae.


The problem was this – the mineral hot spring water cooled in its journey of 6 miles, and by the time it arrived most of its valuable minerals had seeped out.  The icy waters went through a similar fate over their 6-7 miles journey.  The cold water warmed up as it passed through the aqueduct and also reached the fountains in a lukewarm condition.  So when a visitor came to the city having traveled the hot plains, they would be seen taking a big gulp of water only to spit it out in disgust.


So this congregation would know precisely the meaning of Christ when He says:


15     I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. 

16     So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 


I know that some take the position that:


                   •  the cold represent the unbelievers

                   •  the hot represent the believers.

                   •  the lukewarm are those who profess to be in the faith, but don’t possess the faith.


That would mean Jesus was saying, “I’d rather you were saved or unsaved.”  I know there is room for argument, but I am not sure that is what this metaphor had in mind.  In the context of this city and the surrounding area, both hot and cold had an important and effective place.  You like your coffee hot and your drinking water cold.  Both hot and cold possess properties that can influence the surrounding temperature - and do it in a positive helpful manner.  And Christ tells this church that their spiritual temperature is so much like the people around them, that they were totally unable to influence the surrounding population for Christ.


I would suggest there are some things we should be hot about (that is, passionate about) and some things we should be cold about.  And in each case, we can influence the world surrounding us. 

We should be hot or passionate about:


•     Winning people to Christ, having compassion for others, being active in the service of Christ, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, bringing glory to Christ, etc..  Miracles should be occurring where you live and work.  These miracles could be healing of body, or marriages saved by the power of God.


We should be cold about, or turn a cold shoulder to:


•       Conforming to this world, anything that erode a close relationship between us and God, sowing discord among the body of Christ, etc..  Miracles of establishing barriers against the devil.


As I stated earlier, the law of thermodynamics says that things at different temperature will exchange heat with one another and eventually everything will be at the same temperature.  The spiritual law of thermodynamics says that people at different spiritual temperatures should be able to influence the world around them.  We should be able to cool the heated anger of a world gone mad.  But we can also bring warmth to the person who is discouraged and ready to give up.


But you might say, what am I among so many in the world?  The answer:  you can’t in yourself.  Remember that electric frying pan we immersed in cold water in the sink?  What would happen if we left it plugged into the power source, assuming we would not be electrocuted.


That is the answer.  We must remain plugged into the source that has the ability to affect the whole world.  To be an effective and positive catalyst for spiritual change, we must remain plugged into the source.


The question that I have to ask myself is this:  Am I living like Amaziah?  Do I serve God with my whole heart or do I have a divided heart?  Am I like the church in Laodicea, who had allowed themselves to be more influenced by the surrounding culture than by the Holy Spirit.


The definitive characteristic of a lukewarm church is an attitude that says, "I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing" (Revelation 3:17).  If this speak of us, it says we have lost our hunger for God.  We have become satisfied with our present spiritual condition.  If that is us, we are lukewarm.


We are always to want more of God.  We are grateful to God for what He has done in our lives, but we should never be satisfied with our present spiritual condition.  Lukewarm complacency leads to stagnation.  This indicates loss of intimacy with God.


Lukewarmness contributes to the church's lack of miracles and healings.  God wants us filled with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is a healing Spirit.  Romans 8:11 says the Holy Spirit, "gives life to our mortal bodies."  He is speaking of these bodies we have that are still subject to death.


2.    Not recognizing our authority in Christ


An old adage says, "Knowledge is power."  This is certainly true in the spiritual realm.  Once we know who we are in Christ, that knowledge should awaken in us an awareness of the spiritual authority we have as a child of God.


John 14:12-14 NKJV


12     "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

13     And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14     If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.


When we recognize our authority in Christ, we will again see the miracles Jesus did.  With this recognition, we can do battle with the devil in the power of the Holy Spirit, and be totally confident of victory.  The authority we have as Christians is a delegated and imparted authority.  It does not originate with us.  Jesus imparted this truth to His disciples in Matthew 28, and through them to us.


Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV


18     And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19     Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20     teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.  


Jesus clearly stated that all authority has been given to Him.  All means all!  There is no authority that exists outside of the realm of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The devil has power, but absolutely no authority.  Although he still holds millions of people in spiritual bondage and darkness, Satan is living on borrowed time.  He is clinging desperately to an eroding power base.  The Son of God invaded his domain 2,000 years ago, and the devil has been losing ground ever since.  It may not seem that way, considering the moral and spiritual condition of our world.  The Bible tells us that this indicates the devil knows his time is short.


Christ, to whom all authority has been given, has commanded us to "go therefore and make disciples of all the nations."  He sends you and me both in and with His authority.  In John 20:21, Jesus says, "As the Father has sent Me, so send I you."


The apostle Paul prays, in Ephesians 1:19-20 (NKJV), that we would know,......


19     ...what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

20     which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,


First, notice it is not a singular heavenly place.  Paul clearly says "places."  The reason for this is found a few verses later, in Ephesians 2:1, 6.


1       And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

6       ...and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

These "places" are where His redeemed children are to dwell.  Here is the question:  Where are these dwelling places, and what position do they hold?  A moment ago, we read Ephesians 1:19-20.  The next verse gives us the answer to our question.  Where are these dwelling places and what is our position?


Ephesians 1:21 NKJV


21     far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.


Our position in Christ is far above principality, power, might and dominion.  What are these?  In several biblical passages, these are designations for the ranks among the demons of Satan.  To find more detail about that, see the series I taught on Spiritual Warfare, and a lesson titled, "Spiritual Warfare, Satan and his Kingdom."


A redeemed child of God is now given a position in the spirit above the devil and his demons.  Jesus boldly declared, in Luke 10:19 (NKJV):  Behold, I give you the authority ... over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.


When Jesus said, "Go therefore,..." as we read in Matthew 28, He was entrusting to believers the authority that He had.  Our rebirth has positioned us in those heavenly places far above the enemy's authority and power.


Mark 11:23 NKJV


23     For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.


We should never lose sight of who we are in Jesus Christ, and the position we hold in Him.  We need to remind the devil that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has defeated Him.  He has no authority over the Body of Christ.  And now, "we are more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37).


3.    Unforgiveness will hinder the miraculous hand of God


Dr. George Wood writes in an article titled, "The High Cost of Unforgiveness."  It was one of several articles (actually, pulpit messages) on Healing Life's Hurts.  I believe what he says about healing with regard to life's hurts can also be applied to physical healing.  He says:


I’d have to say on the basis of the Scripture that healing begins when we open our life to the forgiveness of God and to ourselves becoming forgiving people."


Mark 11:25-26 (NKJV) tells us:


25     "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

26     But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."


Unforgiveness blocks the flow of God's mercy.  It prevents the operation of real faith from the heart.


We’ve also learned in modern medicine that our emotions effect our bodies.  If there’s a high degree of unforgiveness in our life it works on our physical system.  High blood pressure, upset digestive works, ulcers, nerves, breakdown, coronary attacks can be linked to emotional condition.  Sometimes wrong emotions produces things wrong in our body.


James 5:16 is right on when it says:


          “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.


The verses immediately preceding this one links sin with healing, telling us we cannot be freed of our physical illness if we continue in a state of unforgiveness.  That is because unforgiveness impedes the condition of the body.  And the two become related to one another.


The cost of unforgiveness is too high.  It can stop the miraculous hand of God on our behalf.


Ephesians 4:32 NKJV


32     And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.