Program Air Date - 12-26-04



Good Morning, and welcome to the Living Word Program during this wondrous holiday season. We are glad you have chosen to be with us this morning for this time of offering to God. I hope you're ready to worship God, for today it will again be our privilege to study from God's Word and to sing praises to His wonderful and magnificent name. I trust we will each do our part to glorify and praise our Creator. At this time, let's approach the Father's throne together in prayer!


I hope that we all turn to God on a regular basis to help us in the ups and downs of this life. We are going to start with a song today that reminds us of just how often we need our God. So, at this time, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "I Need Thee Every Hour."

(SONG # 1)


Well, all the giving and receiving of presents is now past. Also, most of our gatherings of family and friends are near an end. What fun it was to have the opportunity to be with others and to give to others, seeing the great joy that it brought them. Furthermore, what fun it was to get things from others and to be surprised with what we got. We probably all are about worn out from the holidays, but they're not over yet!

I guess old Santa has put up the sleigh and reindeer for the year and I'm sure the elves are already busy making preparations for next year. And now, you and I stand in the face of another new year. I guess we all have the feeling of excitement and intrigue on one hand, but on the other, we may be feeling a little uncertain and unsure about what this new year may hold. This is such a special time and hopefully a time of new beginnings, new blessings, new goals and new achievements.

As always, during this time of the year, everyone starts looking back and seeing how the past year went. At the same time, we all try to think of ways we can improve or make the next year even better.

As some of us look back we see a good and prosperous year. However, as some look back they see a year of trials, tragedy and heart ache. No matter what your previous year was like, let me assure you that in Christ, the next year will be better. If we will only learn to rely on Him, trust in His will and to be obedient to our calling - God will care for us, bless us, and give us all that we have need of.

I love the way John put it in his 3rd book, chapter 1, and verse 2. There he said, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." Wouldn't it be a great commendation to know that someone like John was acknowledging that we were doing such a good job spiritually! That is exactly what he is saying concerning his "beloved," brothers and sisters. He saw their good works and prayed that they would prosper physically, just as they had spiritually. Oh, to be that type of servant for God.

Brethren and friends. The fact is, we will be blessed according to our offering to God. If we give our best He will bless us accordingly, but if we give sparingly we will also receive from Him sparingly. Isn't that what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:6, "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."

So the choice is yours. Will you make this new year one for the record books, will it be same as always, or will you make choices that send you down the tubes? You see, the choice is each of ours to make, but I can assure you with God by your side you will make history!

We are happy to have a new guest speaker with us today. We welcome brother Max Patterson. Brother Patterson is one of the full time instructors at the Bible Institute of Missouri. As well, he is a faithful Christian and long time servant for the cause of Christ, as most well know in this area. So, in just a few minutes, brother Patterson will be leading us in our main study of the day.

As far as our study is concerned, we will again continue with our series entitled "From Heaven Or Men." Our specific study of the morning will consider the "The Miraculous in our day." So please stay with us and in a few minutes we will go to God's Word to find the answers. Won't you continue with us as we grow together in the Lord? But for now, let's all join in our next song, it's name, "It Is Well With My Soul."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Max Patterson

Thank you and I appreciate so much brother Ray Sullins inviting me to be a part of this television program. Today, we're going to talk about the miraculous and particularly whether we have the miraculous in our day and time.

It's interesting to observe all of the ideas that people have in the world about the miraculous. Let me begin by noticing the fact that in all of the great uses of miracles in the Bible, no one was ever forgiven by miracles. Miracles were used to bring people to the Word of God. They were used to bring unbelievers to the Word of God so that they might become believers. Jesus prepared His apostles for miracles. He chose twelve men and taught them from between 3 and 3 1/2 years and obviously they could not remember all that He had taught them and so He said to them that the Holy Spirit would come and would cause them to remember.

Let me read to you John 14:25-26. "These things have I spoken unto you being yet present with you, but the comforter which is the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you." So He would teach them and He would cause them to remember. He would cause them to remember and complete their spiritual education because not only would He cause them to remember everything that Jesus taught them, but He would cause them to remember the things that they needed to know in order to teach the people adequately.

"When the Spirit of Truth has come, He will guide you into all truth," John 16 and 13 says. But I want us to notice the purpose of these miracles. In Mark 16 and 17, "Signs would follow these men..." Listen as I read. "... and they went forth and preached everywhere the Lord working with them and confirming the Word with signs following." So these signs would confirm what the believers were teaching and what the hearers were hearing. These signs were not used like people in modern day claim, but to confirm the Word. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 14:22, "Wherefore tongues..." this business of speaking in tongues or languages was one of the miracles that they had in the 1st century, "Wherefore tongues are for a sign not to them that believe, but to them that believe not, but prophesying or teaching serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe." So always in the Bible miracles were used to confirm the Word and not the Word to confirm the miracles. Today, it seems that many religious people have this backwards. But in the Bible, remember that miracles were used to confirm the Word. I'll give you an illustration in a moment or two.

But first I want us to look at the book of Acts and the fact that miracles were confirmed in God's revealed Word. In Acts which is in some ways the center part of the Bible, miracles were not used to dazzle audiences or as entertaining extravaganzas or to bolster pride or to raise money or to build financial empires, not even particularly for the benefit of the sick. When miracles were used, there was an accompanied revelation of the truth. Signs were performed to cause belief.

In John 20:30-31, Jesus said, "These things written..." There were many things that could have been written, but "...these written that you might believe and through believing you might have life through His name." And so these signs were to accompany that which was taught.

In Hebrews 2:3-4, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him. God also bearing them witness both with signs and with wonders and with diverse miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own Will." Notice that the Word was to confirm or the miracles was to confirm the Word. So the Word was spoken and the miracles were performed to show that these men were speaking the Word of God, that they were speaking that which came from Heaven.

Now when the Word of God had been confirmed and written down in the 27 books of our New Testament, then there was no longer any need or any use for the miracles. Miracles are somewhat like scaffolding around a house. One builds a house, and he puts up the scaffolding outside the house to put up the walls, but when those walls are put up, then the scaffolding is torn down and is not needed any longer. So the miracles were used to confirm and establish the Word of God, but once that Word was established, there was not anymore use for the miracles.

Listen to a story in which this is apparent in the book of Mark chapter 2. This is a story about a man sick of palsy or a paralytic who had to be carried to Jesus by four men on a bed and they could not get into the house where Jesus was and so they went up on the roof and broke a hole in the roof and let the man down through the hole in the place where Jesus was in the house. "When Jesus saw their faith..." Now, not the faith of the man that was sick, the man who needed to be healed, but the faith of the four men. "When He saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy, 'Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.' But there were certain of the scribes sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 'Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?'" Now, they were right in part of what they were saying. They said, "Why does this man speak blasphemies?" Obviously, He was not speaking blasphemy because He was Jesus, the son of God. He was God in the flesh. But the part about "who can forgive sins but God only," is exactly right. Only God could forgive sins, but see Jesus had been teaching, but He did not expect people to believe what He taught just because He said it and so the miracles. Now listen to what happens. "And immediately when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned within themselves, He said to them, 'Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether it is easier to say to the sick of palsy, 'Thy sins be forgiven thee, or arise and take up thy bed and walk,' but that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins. I say unto thee," He says this to the sick of palsy, "I say unto thee arise and take up thy bed and walk and go thy way into thine house, and immediately he arose, took up his bed and went forth before them all in so much that they were all amazed and glorified God saying we never saw it on this fashion," or in a sense that's like our saying, "We have never seen anything like that." Now notice what Jesus says. "Whether it is easier to say to the sick of palsy, 'thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say arise and take up thy bed and walk, but that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins."

You see, Jesus taught that He could forgive sins. He came into this world and His purpose for coming into the world was so that men might have the forgiveness of sins. But how did people know that He was telling the truth? Well when He could perform the miracles that He performed, He showed everybody that He had the power that God had given to Him and so He performed the miracles, but when He did that, they could reason then that if He has the power from God to perform these miracles, He must have the power from God to forgive sins. So we had better pay attention to what He says. It's sort of like Jesus saying that "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved..." How do I know that a person is saved when he is baptized? Well, it's because the Word of God says that. That's how I know it today. But in that day and time, we didn't have the Word of God written yet, the 27 books of the New Testament had not been written, and therefore they needed something other than somebody's word to prove to them that what was being said was really and truly from God, that it really was from Heaven. So the miracles were performed and when they saw the miracles being performed, then they knew that they needed to believe in the messenger and in the message that the messenger was delivering. So He says, "Whether it's easier to say to the sick of palsy, 'thy sins be forgiven or to say arise and take up thy bed and walk,' but that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins. So He says to the sick of the palsy, 'I say to thee arise and take up thy bed and go thy way into thine house,' and so the man was healed..." and now they know that the miracle is genuine.

There are many passages in the scripture, in the scriptures, that teach that miracles were real, that they actually were performed in New Testament times, but the purpose of these miracles was to confirm and establish the truth and it did so beautifully and wonderfully in the 1st century, and so today, we have the 27 books of the New Testament. It is the revealed Word of God. It is confirmed. It is established. And that's what we need to rely upon. We do not perform miracles today. There are no miracles being performed today because there is no truth being revealed today that needs to be confirmed and established. "That faith that has been delivered to us," Jude says, "is the once for all time delivered unto us message." The message that has once for all been delivered unto us and it has been confirmed and established and what we need to do is to go to the Bible, the Holy Word of God, and read it and believe it and obey it. It is so very important that we listen to the words of the Holy Spirit. The Bible itself was given by the process of a miracle. It is inspired. That means it is God-breathed and we are to listen to and to believe every word that proceeds from the mouth of God because it is God-breathed, and so if it has to do with the plan of salvation. We need to believe that plan of salvation. We need to obey that plan of salvation because it has been delivered unto us by God, has been confirmed and established in the 27 books of the New Testament, and there is no question about what that plan of salvation is or whether we should believe it and obey it. We also should believe what the scriptures teach about the plan of worship. We should believe what the scriptures teach about the plan of Christian living, to live it in all honesty and decency, to live it and to believe it and to practice it in our lives.

And so the Word of God has been given to us. It has been given to us and has been established through miracles and these miracles tell us that yes, this is the believable Word of God. You can rely upon it. You can put your faith in it. You can trust it with all of your heart and so when we read the Bible, we know it's the Word of God. We know it's something that has come from God. We know that we can trust it and believe it and rely upon it, that we can live by it and even die by it and so that's what we're telling you that you should believe because that's what the scriptures teach us.

Thank you very much and good day.

SONG # 3 - "I Know That My Redeemer Lives!")


Thank you again for being with us this Lord's Day. Let me invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to growing in God, by studying and doing things His way!

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May this coming new year bring us all the blessings and joys which are deserving of those who are striving to please God by doing His Will!

(Program closing)