August 31

Matthew 15-16, Psalm 89

The world says, "If I can see it, then I'll believe it." The Bible says, "If you believe it, then you'll see it." I began medical school in 1984. There was a fairly new vaccine for Hepatitis B made available and all health care workers, including the medical students were required to receive it for our own protection. This vaccine was made before HIV/AIDS was a known disease. To make the vaccine, then called Heptavax, they pooled the serum from homosexual men from NYC who had a very high incidence of Hepatitis B. They then processed the serum, into the vaccine and we were all vaccinated. By the grace of God, the process utilized in making the vaccine also unknowingly killed the HIV virus. If this were not the case, myself along with every health care worker would have been exterminated by the vaccine. Many like to state that was a stroke of luck or genius. But no one knew about HIV, and there are no coincidences. This was the hand of God and by His grace He providentially spared all of us. For myself, I am especially thankful since this was before I came into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Miracles such as this do not convert a person. How we view events is a matter of our heart. Signs and wonders can confirm Scripture and the character of God, but only faith will actually convert the sinner. Voltaire, the avowed atheist from the 18th century, said, "Even if a miracle should be wrought in the open marketplace before one thousand sober witnesses, I would rather mistrust my senses than admit a miracle took place."

We read in Matthew 16:1-4, "Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." And He left them and departed." From a casual glance, some might say, what's the big deal, just show them a miracle and they would believe. But Jesus knows the heart. These same people had already witnessed countless miracle by Jesus, including healing blind, deaf and lame individuals. Some of them would have witnessed the miraculous feeding of the 4000 or 5000. But their impure hearts chose to disbelieve or attribute these miracles to the devil. These same leaders continued their demands all the way to the cross as they mockingly yelled at our Savior as He was pinned to the cross in Matthew 27:42, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him." Their demands for a sign and a miracle came from an impure heart and would never satisfy this kind of heart. For even the miracle of the empty tomb which fulfilled His words concerning the sign of Jonah did not convince them. Instead they covered up the evidence by bribing the Roman guards and putting forth a lie.

Faith, as defined in the Bible in Hebrews 11:1, reads, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Paul said in Romans 10:17, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." He states before this in Romans 10:9-10, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Many now are like the Pharisees of old, demanding a sign before they are willing to commit themselves and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They make statements like, "I would believe if...", or "If God answers this prayer, then...". Just like the Pharisees they are mistakenly putting God to the test. When Jesus is tempted in the desert by Satan, himself, Jesus responds in Matthew 4:7, "Then Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.' " None of us are in any position to put God to the test and demand anything from Him. He has provided all that we need to have a faith including the complete Word of God in a multitude of versions translated into 670 languages, and the New Testament alone in 1521 languages. We have God's History before us, the question is not whether there is enough proof based on history, prophecy, archaeology, etc. The question for each of us and for anyone else is whether or not we have a repentant heart and are willing to believe and put our faith in Him.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster