The following is an excerpt from a recent sermon I preached on Acts 5:1-16. The prose has been slightly edited for ease of reading, but I’ve tried to retain the sermonic, spoken feel as much as possible.
To say that miracles are not the ordinary occurrence of the day or as common as they were in the apostolic era is not to say that they can’t happen. They can. They do. They have. And that’s the point we’re meant to see in Acts 5:12-16. God was building up his church and confirming the gospel message with miraculous signs and wonders.
You see, we come to a fork in the road with this business of miracles. What do you believe about God? Do you have a God who can do as he pleases? If he wants to heal people by having them lie on the ground and a shadow passes over them, then he can heal them. Might there be unexplained phenomenon in the world? Is it possible that science cannot account for everything? Do I believe in a God who must play by my rules or a God who can do whatever he wants?
People often scramble and get embarrassed by the miracles in the Bible: “Um, you know, this is a weird passage and people are dying and judgment is coming and then there are shadows passing over people and they are getting healed. It’s so fantastical. I don’t know.”
This is where we need to come to grips with God as God. I think it was B.B. Warfield who said, who defined Christianity once as, “unembarrassed supernaturalism.” Will you say, “I believe in a God of infinite power. I believe in a God who doesn’t need to conform to my expectations. I believe in a God who can accomplish things that no person or journal or scientific experiment can fully explain. I believe in a God who is really God and can do as he pleases.”
Now none of this means that you have to check your brain at the door or suddenly become irrational. Faith has its reasons. But faith does not bow at the throne of human reason. Here’s where the two paths diverge. If you say, “I don’t know, I need a God who fits in a little bit more with my expectations, sort of a God on my terms.” Well then you’re going to end up rewriting what scripture says. But if you believe in that sort of God—a God who’s God and he can do what he wants–then you’ve opened yourself up to the most important truths in the Christian faith: creation, the incarnation, the resurrection, the second coming of Christ. If the healings and exorcisms are true, then you have a God who can do all that and more.
The bottom line is this: do you have a God who can do as he pleases?
You can listen to the entire sermon and watch the whole thing here.