Special Saints

SPECIAL SAINTS

Call them what you will: ‘Committed,’ ‘Convicted,’ ‘Faithful,’ ‘Devoted,’ ‘Christ-like,’ ‘Self-sacrificing,’ ‘ Special ’ or something similar.

Do you know someone special?

Do you know someone special?

Jesus Christ Himself called them “the greatest in the kingdom” (Matt. 18:4). They are those who give when others take; forgive, when others give them grief; show up to serve others, when others serve only themselves; and who don’t need to see their name in the bulletin for their service, because they know their name is in the Lord’s “book of life” (Phil. 4:3). They work behind the scenes, instead of out front to be seen; are willing to make the quietest of efforts while others are making the loudest of excuses; and expect nothing in return, but a commendation from their Lord and Savior (Matt. 25:14-40; Rom. 2:5-11). They are indeed: the faithful, the special, and the greatest of all in the kingdom of heaven or church of our Lord. Let us love, honor, and recognize, as well as to appreciate and to emulate, both them and their humble Christian examples (1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Cor. 11:1-2)!

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The Ability to Perform Miracles

Why Did God Give People the Ability to Perform Miracles?

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”

Miracles confirmed the Word of God, which we have in our hands today.

Miracles confirmed the Word of God, which we have in our hands today.

John 3:1-2

Why did God allow man to perform miracles?  Have you ever wondered that?

Nicodemus tells us why.  Why would a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews, one of the religious elite of the day, pay any attention to a carpenter from backwater Nazareth who was claiming to be the Messiah?  It was because of the miracles done by this Man.

That’s why people paid attention to his apostles and the other early Christians.  Picture this.  You came into Jerusalem for the Passover and just happened to witness the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.  You decide to come back to Jerusalem fifty days later to observe the holiday of Pentecost, and suddenly you see this Galilean roughneck fisherman talking to thousands of people about how “God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36) and how God had raised him from the dead (Acts 2:32).

“Wait a second,” you think.  “That’s the same guy I saw dying on a cross fifty days ago!  This guy can’t be telling the truth!”

An obvious and understandable conclusion, one that obviously would keep you from buying what this guy is selling and becoming a follower of a dead guy who is supposedly resurrected.  Why would anyone believe this man or anyone else who’s preaching the same message?

What if you were standing there listening to him and the other uneducated hicks from Galilee, when you suddenly realized that all the other Jews surrounding you from places all over the world could understand them because they were effortlessly speaking to them in their own languages (Acts 2:4)?  True, it could be possible, however unlikely, for uneducated fisherfolk from Galilee to…maybe…learn one or two different languages over time?  But twenty?  Thirty?  And to be completely fluent in them, switching back and forth from one to the other effortlessly depending on the person to whom they were speaking and the place from where he had come?

Say in the days following you keep running into these guys who keep preaching about a resurrected, crucified carpenter from Nazareth who is the Son of God…and you notice more unexplainable oddities…

How that fisherman was talking to that lame guy on Solomon’s Portico whom you’ve seen begging for food at that same spot for years, and suddenly reaches down and pulls him to his feet…and now the lame guy can walk, and not only walk but leap around, praising God!  (Acts 3:1ff)

How people were carrying obviously sick people out into the streets, as well as those afflicted with unclean spirits, and how this fisherman would just simply walk past them at noon with his shadow passing over them, and suddenly they would be completely better!  (Acts 5:12-16)

Now, if you were a complete cynic whose heart was completely hardened and your mind was already made up that these guys were frauds, then you would write these supposed “miracles” off as frauds.  You might even attribute their ability to perform these signs as evidence that they were followers of Satan (Matt. 12:22-30)!  If you were so far gone that you were attributing the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit to Satan, there would be no hope for you whatsoever that you would believe in Jesus as the Son of God, and so you would never be forgiven (Matt. 12:31-32).

However, these signs and wonders performed by Jesus and his followers would make a big impression on you as to the validity of their message if you had an open and honest heart (Luke 8:15).  That’s a big reason why God allowed Jesus and his followers to perform miracles.  It was, as Nicodemus said, to convince observers that God was with them.

For more scriptural information, read also Mark 16:17-20 and Hebrews 2:1-4.

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The Greatest Command

How Great is Your Love?

We hear a lot about the greatest command (Matthew 22:37–38). We sing about it, pray about it, and preach about it. Yet it seems that few Christians really practice it. Selfishness, envy, pride, arrogance, vengeance, laziness, and indifference abound even among those who claim to be children of God.

Are we walking a life of love?

Are we walking a life of love?

Paul warns those who have been grafted into the vine to not be high minded and think that they can-not also be removed (Romans 11). We need to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but to be living sacrifices (Romans 12:3). Paul wanted all men to be saved and if that meant he would be lost so they all would be saved, then so be it (Romans 9:3).

Thanks be to God that Christ paid that price for us so that we could be saved. “Behold therefore the good-ness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22) Love good, hate evil, be kind, be busy, be joyful, be pa-tient, pray, give, be hospitable, bless, and overcome evil with good. Being a Christian and going to heaven is not a passive pursuit. Be obedient, be active, love, and be faithful!

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