Purpose: To prove that miracles no longer occur.
I. Read John 20:30-31.
II. Definition of "miracle": "Events in the external world wrought by the immediate power of God and intended as a sign or attestation" (Westminster Dictionary of the Bible).
III. Non-Miraculous Christianity is no Christianity at all.
A. Many try to prove that miracles never occurred.
B. To try to prove this is to try to prove the impossible.
C. Without the miraculous, Christianity is a vain religion.
1. The Bible could not have been inspired (2 Timothy 3:16).
2. Jesus must have been a liar because he claimed to do miracles.
3. Without the miracle of the resurrection, we have no hope of eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:17).
IV. We must make it clear that we do believe in miracles.
V. However, a recent survey has indicated that 91% of the people in the United States still believe that miracles still occur today.
A. This is a problem.
B. It goes against everything that the Scriptures teach.
VI. The belief that miracles still occur really comes about from ignorance.
A. People don't understand the purpose of miracles.
B. They don't understand the nature of miracles.
C. They don't understand that miracles were never meant to be extend beyond the time it took to reveal the word of God.
VII. For this reason, let us look at:
A. The purpose of miracles.
B. The nature of miracles.
C. The duration of miracles.
1. The Patriarchal age began with miracles and continued naturally.
2. The Mosaic Age began miraculously (Exodus 7) and continued naturally.
B. Miracles were used to confirm that Jesus was the Christ.
1. John 20:30-31.
2. Acts 2:22.
3. Matthew 11:2-5.
4. John 3:2.
C. Miracles were used to show that the messenger had God's approval.
1. Like Moses before Pharaoh (Exodus 4:1-9).
2. Like the Apostles (Mark 16:17-20).
D. Miracles were used to the messenger truth that was unknown to him.
1. 2 Peter 1:23.
E. Miracles were never used for personal benefit.
1. Paul did not heal Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23).
2. Paul did not heal Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20).
3. He did not heal them because it would not have served to confirm his message.
A. Who could perform miracles?
1. Jesus could perform miracles (Luke 4:36).
2. The Apostles could perform miracles (2 Corinthians 12:12).
B. Classifications of Miracles.
1. Power over nature (Matthew 8:23-27).
2. Power over disease (Acts 3:1-10).
3. Power over demons (Luke 4:33-37).
4. Power over death (John 11).
C. Characteristics of Miracles.
1. They always exhibit the character of God and teach truths about God.
2. They had a religious purpose.
a. They were not contradictory to God's word.
b. They always glorified God and not man (Acts 3:8).
c. Miracles supported the truth and not error (Hebrews 2:3-4).
3. They were performed in public places and in the presence of unbelievers.
4. They were performed without sensationalism (no "healing services").
5. Miracles never made the miracle worker rich.
6. These miracles were never successfully refuted by enemies (Acts 4:16).
7. They were never silly or absurd.
8. There was never any doubt that a miracle had been performed.
9. People did not come to see miracles but to hear the gospel.
10. The results were immediate and complete.
11. If a failure occurred when trying to do a miracle, it was the miracle-worker's fault and not the one on whom the miracle was being done.
A. The Old Testament predicts the cessation of miracles (Zechariah 13:2).
B. The New Testament predicts the cessation of miracles (1 Corinthians 13:8f).
C. There is no longer a purpose for miracles today; the word has been confirmed.
D. How long did miracles last? When the Apostles died and all of those whom they had laid hands on died.
1. The serious student of the Bible who studies with an honest heart must come to the conclusion that miracles no longer occur today.
2. This is not because God is not capable of performing miracles but because he chooses not to.
3. The Purpose of Miracle shows us that they are no longer taking place.
A. The purpose was to confirm the word.
B. It has been confirmed.
4. The Nature of Miracles shows that miracles have ceased.
5. The Duration of Miracle as taught in the Bible shows that they have ceased.
-- Ralph Price - February 2000 --
(The bulk of this material is from Bobby Liddell's summer class on Parables and Miracles at the Memphis School of Preaching.)