Debating Bible Basics Duncan Heaster  


3-2-1 The Need For Miracles

Mr. Liliekas’ First Speech

Well, good evening. Actually the name is Liliekas (pronounced with an “I” in the middle not an “E”). O.K. Let me start by asking a question: This debate goes around other miracles relevant for today? Are gifts relevant for today? And I think to start off we have to ask one question: why are there miracles in the Bible? Anybody know? Why are there miracles in the Bible? Why are there supernatural gifts? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to impress the scientific world, if there were no stumbling blocks like miracles and gifts then the intellectuals could easily accept so much that is in the Bible. But it seems as if for some reason or other the Bible seems to be filled with things that we cannot quite explain by using our intelligence.

O.K. So to answer this question let me ask some others. I guess everybody here goes to Church or they are Christians. Yes? Good. How many of us find when we preach or when we teach the Word of God, or when we try to tell people about doctrine who have not heard the Scripture before, that straightway they say, “I believe you, Sir, that is true, I’ll accept that”. How many of us find this? Nobody right? How many of us, when we go to invite people to Church, find that there is a mob of people pushing and struggling to find out where our Church is, what time it starts at and they ask us “Sir, can I please bring my friends, and my family and my colleagues?” How many of us find that? Nobody right? Or when we open the Church on the Sunday morning you find mobs breaking in through the doors, rushing in to find the best seat, filling up all the seats in the aisles and then they sit raptly and attentively and when you have finished giving your message, they all fall down in repentance, accept your message, and they are in such an eagerness to go on with the gospel that you have to take them the next day to the public swimming bath and baptize them? I’ve never found that, and I’m sure that none of you guys have. One of the reasons for that is that man is, by nature, a sceptic. Right? Man is sceptical. There is an ancient Latin proverb which says: “Believe nothing and be on your guard against everything”. Now we know that man hasn’t changed. That is exactly the way the man in the street is. He has been like that since the beginning of time, he’s like that now.

There’s a French proverb which says: “Sceptics are never deceived”. Now that’s true. If you are sceptical, you’ll never be deceived. On the other hand, you’ll never believe anything either.

Unfortunately from the gospel perspective, man is a sceptic by heart. On one side, we have men who are sceptics, who won’t believe, who won’t accept, who doubt everything you say. The sceptic will say “show me your God, you say you are a man of God, you say this message is from God – prove it. I see temples, churches of all sorts of denominations round me, all sorts of priests and whatever, how do I know that you are from God, how do I know?” So on the one hand we have the sceptic who won’t believe until he sees. On the other hand we have a God of infinite love – what does it say? It says “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son” (Jn. 3:16). He so loved what? It wasn’t a tiny minority. It wasn’t just the few people, or an elect little group or sect. He loved the world. God’s over-riding concern is the salvation of the world. He will do everything to achieve that end.

On one hand we have sceptical man, on the other hand we have a God, filled with love with a strong objective – the salvation of the world.

Enter – miracles.

What’s needed to overwhelm the heart of the sceptical man is some confirmation from God. There are two aspects of this. One is Divine confirmation, the other is Divine administration. Let’s look at confirmation first.

Moses standing in the mountain by the burning bush, God says to him, “Moses, go down to Egypt and bring my people out of Egypt” (Ex. 3:10). And Moses asked the classical question “what if they will not believe me Lord?” (Ex. 4:1). “What happens if I go there and they say ‘get lost!’”. In Exodus 4 God says to Moses that if they don’t believe you, do one miracle. If they don’t believe that I’ll give you another miracle. If they don’t believe that I’ll give you another sign. Why? God is confirming that his messenger is sent from God and that the message is from God as well.

Elijah and the prophets of Baal. What happened? Elijah standing there on the mountain, he’s got a sacrifice made and so have the priests of Baal. They do the equivalent of a heavy metal rock –and-roll dance round their offering. Nothing happens. Elijah says douse the offering with water, and we’ll see who is God. And what happened when the fire fell and God answered by a miracle? Those people who were holding between two different opinions were moved and they said, “The Lord he is God” (1 Kgs. 18:39).

Let’s look at the New Testament. When Peter was speaking on the day of Pentecost and the people were saying “what happened here?” Peter goes through a sermon and at the end he says (Acts 2:22), “This Jesus was a man attested to you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God performed through him”. In other words God was validating the message. God was saying that both the messenger and the message were true by a Divine confirmation.

Was this ever meant as a substitute for the Word? By no means. This wasn’t something that was going to just last for a hundred years and then when God had finally got the canon of Scripture, He would do away with it. This was God actively taking part in the ongoing work of redeeming man and bringing him back to Himself.

Philip was at Samaria. He went down there and, it says, he preached and performed mighty miracles. What happened? Everyone repented. Multitudes turned to God. Do you think we need to see multitudes turn to God today? You’re dead right, we do! Do you think if we went and performed some miracle somewhere, that it would turn the hearts of the people to God. Obviously it would. This is what is happening with Charismatics and Spirit-filled all over the Third World. This happens all the time. Especially in the Third World, why? Because men are less sceptical.