It’s a Miracle! Or Is It? – Notes/Study Sheet

(Mark 16:15-20)



   * What is a miracle?

   * What was the design of Bible “wonders?”

   * How do we explain the “feats” of modern “miracle workers?”


1. How do we define a miracle? - An event which forces of nature (including man) cannot produce, must be done by a supernatural agency.

   * Acts of creation (Heb. 11:3; Psalm 33:9 Gen. 2:1-2).

   * Temporary/natural suspension of natural law (Mt. 8:23-27, John 6:16-21).

   * Healing of physical body (John 9:1-7, Acts 3:1-10).

   * Divine power over death (John 11:43-44; I Cor. 15:16-19)

   * Expulsion of demons from the body (Matt. 12:22 & following).

   * Manipulation of matter (Water to wine, loaves & fishes feed thousands - John 2:1-11; John 6:1-14).

   * Miracles in plant and animal kingdoms (Baalam’s Donkey, Fig tree - Num. 22:28; Mt. 21:19).


2. Traits of a genuine miracle. – They either happen or they don’t.

   * Jesus enemies accepted His miracles, even though they denied His power (Mt. 12:24).

   * Jews recognized miracles but tried to hide them (Acts 4:14 & following).

   * Weren’t done for personal gain (Acts 3:6).

   * Large numbers present to witness (John 6:10 & following).

   * Genuine miracles were instantaneous (Mark 10:52; Acts 3:7).

   * Could be observed by the senses (John 2:9; 20:27; Luke 22:51)

   * Must be independent of natural causes (John 9:1 & following; Luke 22:50-51)

   * Will stir up more than passing interest of people.


3. Purpose of miracles in Christ’s ministry & apostolic age.

   * To confirm the word being revealed by Christ’s evangelists (Mark 16:20; Heb. 2:3&4).

   * Understand this! -  If those early miracles support the testimony of Christ and His spokesmen; and the purpose of

       recording these events in the New Testament was to continually accomplish that function, then the repetition of

       such signs is no longer needed! See John 20:31.

   * Even those who claim miracles happen today usually admit that those in the Bible are enough to build faith in Christ!

   * How did men receive the power to perform miracles?


      - Holy Spirit baptism – Given to apostles (Acts 1:5; 2:4) & received by Cornelius’ house (Acts 10:44; 11:15-17).

      - Do we get it today? No. Here’s why: Paul told Ephesians there’s “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). Must have been water

         baptism because it will last until the “end of the age” (Mt. 28:19-20) and it’s administered by men. Holy Spirit

         baptism was given by Christ (Mt. 3:11). “One baptism” of Eph. 4:5 was water baptism because Holy Spirit baptism

         had become obsolete.


      - Miraculous gifts conveyed by an apostle (Acts 8:5&6; ch. 14-17).

      - Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:18).

      - Paul (Acts 19:6).

      - Church at Corinth (I Cor. 12:12; II Cor. 12-14).

      - Timothy (II Tim. 1:6).


Much more can be said and will, Lord willing. Salvation is no miracle, though! Hear the word (Heb. 10:16), believe it (Heb. 11:6), repent (Acts 17:30), confess your faith in Christ as the sinless Son of God (Acts 8:36-37), be baptized (I Peter 3:20-21) & remain faithful (Rev. 2:10).




                                                                                                                                    R.W. McAlister 3/15/09 a.m.