Good morning Hope City. My name is Pastor Peter and today we are starting a brand-new series as you’ve seen called Miracles. For the month of July we are going to be diving in and discovering that Nothing is Impossible with God. I understand that some of you are here this morning wondering if there are people who really believe this stuff… while there are others in this room who are wondering when you’ll be healed from that disbelief. For the next 5 weeks we are going to look at what Miracles are, and How God works in these ways.
In our house, about 3 months ago, there was a major petition going on. It first started out as an underground movement. There were posters hung up in our house, treasonous whispers being spread amongst our ranks. For a while I thought that I could simply squash it by ignoring this movement but like any major revolution, it started showing up all over the place. I walked into our bathroom and tucked under the toilet paper was a petition for… are you ready for this? ANOTHER DOG!
And guess what the language was on this petition. “Even Mom thinks we should get another dog.” Well guess what… their ain’t no way, no how, no time soon that we’re bringing another dog into this world. Because let me tell you… THAT WOULD BE A MIRACLE! One is enough… anyone else agree?
Have you ever found yourself saying something sarcastic like, That would be a miracle… For example, you’re joking around with your High School little brother and he says, “I’m going to ask the prom queen out on a date and she’ll say yes.” “That would be a miracle.” Right? We say, yeah… that’s probably not going to happen.
Or my car is so busted It’s gonna be a miracle if it starts today. Have you ever been there? I have… It’s probably not gonna happen.
We are aware that there are some things that are so far outside of our reach or so far outside of what we believe to be possible that we put them in a category that is reserved for MIRACLES. We’ve said, that is so impossible, it is so far-fetched, it is so insurmountable that it has to be a miracle for it to happen.
We are arriving at a crisis in our churches… we say and believe that we have a miracle working God but then we don’t live and look for miracles. God did miracles long ago for Abraham, Isaac, Jonah, and Esther…. But it probably won’t happen to me. There is a problem. And I believe it is that the word Miracle is losing it’s power. For example, we say things like, I was at Target up on University this past weekend, and the parking lots were all full… and it was a miracle. There was a spot right up front. Praise Jesus, Hallelujah. It’s a miracle. Well, no it’s not. That’s just the way parking lots work. Some other mom in yoga pants and a work out top on a Target Run left right before you got there. (Side note, I feel out of place at target because I’m never in Yoga Pants and a work out top) Is that the official uniform of target? She got in her car and left right before you got there. That is not a miracle.
Do you know what else feels like a miracle? Coffee!!! Have you ever thought about it? We can turn water into coffee! Have you had a cup of cold brew yet today? I’ll let you in on a little secret, we make some of the finest cold brew you can find in SRQ…. And it’s all done in a 5 gallon bucket. We pour water into the bucket and 24 hour later, we’ve got Delicious Cold Brew Coffee. It feels like a MIRACLE!
But… It’s not. It’s a process.
A miracle is when God in Heaven intervenes on Earth… It’s when God intervenes in your life. And we still have a miracle working God…
If you pull in to the Target at University and the lot is full, and the cars all part so you can have a spot up front, that is a miracle! That is God intervening on your behalf. We’re going to spend the rest of this month looking at this and exploring the miracles that God has done in the past and see what He’s doing in our present.
One of Jesus’ first recorded Miracles that we see in the Gospels is found in John chapter 2. You can turn to John chapter 2 today, that’s page 724 in the Bibles around you, or you can click over in your YouVersion App. John is the fourth gospel in the New Testament, it is the fourth book of the New Testament that tells the story of Jesus time here on earth. We are going to see Jesus do something really uncommon with some very common things.
Look at John 2:1-11 with me…
1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. John 2:1-2 (setting)
Weddings were a big deal in this day and age. They were a community affair with your social dignity hanging in the balance of this event. There would be 7 days of feasting and drinking in which the town would celebrate this wedding. Tell me how Great your wedding was again? There is no doubt that food and wine were flowing in abundance, and yet, at this wedding, something wasn’t quite right. Look at what happens next.
3When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine. 4 “Woman why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:3-5 (setup)
Uh oh… there’s no more wine! This is a problem. The party is going to grind to a halt, the people are going to wonder what’s happening, and then this young couple will forever be marked as the couple who didn’t buy enough wine. They’ll be walking through town and people will be whispering behind their backs… “cheapskates”, “I heard her dad was trying to save a couple bucks.”
But Mary finds out that there is no more wine (Look in the bucket) and Mary comes to Jesus and there is a what seems like an awkward interaction here between the two. Woman why do you involve me? Men, try that this afternoon when you get home…. Kids are screaming, running all over the house, and your wife says, can you help…. Try saying, “Woman, why do you involve me?” hahaha…
(Back to Scripture)Our ears hear this in a very negative, disrespectful tone. However, Jesus frequently referred to others as woman. It was not disrespectful at all. He was asking an important question. What she was asking was going to put Jesus in the spotlight and His ministry was going to move into the public eye. Look at what Jesus did–
6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2:6-10 (the Miracle)
Jesus, moved by His compassion for this couple, by his love for his mother, and by the direction of His Heavenly Father, stepped into an ordinary situation with ordinary objects and created an extraordinary outcome. This is what God does through miracles. God does uncommon things with things that are common. We just call those miracles. In this miracle, we see that Jesus used a few stone jars, and some water and he turned it into wine. Not any regular kind of wine, but CHOICE WINE. The kind of wine that when someone opens the bottle you can hear dollar signs… Cha Ching Cha Ching…
John goes into extreme detail about these jars, these are 6, 20-30 gallon jars. All said, it would be anywhere from 120-150 gallons of water that was turned into wine. They are stone jars, and they apparently are sitting empty waiting to be filled, waiting to be used. This is an extravagant miracle taking place right in front of their eyes. Jesus sees what’s around him, and utilizes that. In fact, all He required was that the servants fill the jars. There was no test of faith, there was no questions about who do you say I am. There was no pre-requisites to this miracle. It was a very common scene that became uncommon when Jesus stepped in.
This is what God does through His miracles. There is nothing that you can do to earn or deserve God’s miracle in your life. It is simply God moving and acting on your behalf, it is God breaking in and intervening in your situation. Jesus transforms ordinary things into something extraordinary. I just wonder what in your life he could transform today.
Some of you in this room right now are desperately in need of God to break in to your life and move dramatically. Relationally, you have a child, a son or daughter who is causing you extreme pain and heartache due to the decisions that they are making. And it would take a miracle for that relationship to turn around. God can step in and turn that around, using what little you have. Because NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE with Him. He can take what little you have and make big changes.
Or maybe your finances are so backwards and upside down that wonder if you’ll ever be able to get right side up again. And you are trying to figure what could it possibly look like to make that happen. Well what if God took what you had, the things around you, the job you had, and did things that you never imagined were possible. We’ll talk about this later in the series… But NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE with Him.
Some of you here are still on the fence. You’re concerned. You say, I get it… Jesus cares about me, I mean, you’re a pastor for crying out loud… or you may say, I know someone else and God worked a miracle in their life… BUT GOD COULD NEVER DO THAT FOR ME.
Look back at verse 1&2…
1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. John 2:1-2 (setting)
Do you see how this is described? It’s A wedding. We don’t know anyone’s names, we don’t know anyone’s backgrounds. We don’t know if they were religious or not. We don’t know if they had family who were priests… We just know that there was a wedding. There was a life-event in a community, and they ran out of wine. Talk about being #FORaCommunity, Jesus literally keeps the party going…. This is one of the reasons why I’m so excited for our Serve Days. There are people that we don’t know yet, that God is going to use you in a miraculous way in their life. God will intervene and allow you to be a part of this! You will not want to miss SERVE DAY. I hope you’ll join us as we care for our community. You can sign up today for that in the lobby. We are #FORSarasota because we believe that God is #FORSarasota. So what we don’t know the people. We don’t have to know the people we’re going to serve and take care of. In John 2, it was not important who this couple was. It wasn’t their status, but their need was what mattered. What do you need? Not want… what do you need?
This brings us to our second point today, if you’re taking Notes, and that is that God does uncommon things for common people. Jesus is concerned with Ordinary People. This miracle was not a “necessity,” but rather a “luxury.” Stop and consider this fact for a moment. This miracle is not like some of the other miracles Jesus performed, where an individual has suffered for years, or a child’s life hangs in the balance. This is not an emergency situation which demands immediate and dramatic action on our Lord’s part. This is the case of a maître de who has nothing left to serve his guests. And Jesus transforms water into wine. His transforming power is released not because of obligation but because of love and compassion!
God doesn’t work miracles in your life because of something you’ve done, but who you are. The extravagance of Jesus’ act, the superabundance of the wine, it reminds us of the gifts that Jesus makes available. Jesus ministry begins with this extraordinary act of grace for common people, and it is a glimpse of the greater things that were to come.
Think about what happened, water was poured into a stone pot, and because of Jesus, new wine came out of it. Imagine what God could do through you when He touches your heart.
1 John 3:1 says,
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
This is what Jesus came to do… He came to turn water to wine. He came to turn sinners to saints. To transform hearts of stone into hearts that beat passionately for God! There is no greater miracle than God taking a hard heart and softening it and then setting it loose for His purposes. This is God turning the heart of an addict and releasing them from their pain. This is God miraculously bringing a husband and wife back together after years of pain and abuse. This is God healing my friend Steven from his addiction to Heroin. Steve hooked on drugs for 16 years. He was a dead beat dad, struggled to hold down a job, and after serious therapy, he was able to get off drugs, but he was put on Methadone. Methadone is a controlled drug that helps satisfy the cravings. Simply put it was moving his addiction from one place to another.
He was done with it. When I met Steven, he was exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually from having this addiction. And one night, dramatically, God intervened on his behalf. God stepped in and removed his addictions, and his desires. He was changed.
Steven visited us at Hope City not that long ago with his two boys. He’s a changed man. He is serving in his church, he’s a leader, and more importantly, he tells everyone he can of what God did in his life. It’s just like what happened in John 2… look back with me.
11What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. John 2:11 (Conclusion)
Jesus turned water into wine. He made gallons of the stuff. Why? To reveal God’s glory! To draw people to God. Can you imagine what the servants thought? The guys that poured the water into the stone jugs… those guys… what could they have thought? They knew where the water came from, and they are the very same guys who ladled it out of the stone jars… there was no explanation. The disciples are the same way. They know the full story. Just as we do. There was no way around it… God was put on display. This is what Miracles do. Miracles put God on Display.
This is the problem with saying it was a miracle that you found a parking spot at target. It doesn’t put God on display. It isn’t revealing God’s power. We’ve dumbed down the nature of a miracle when we use it in that way.
God wants to know you and be known by you. One of the greatest things that we can do while here on earth is to help others know who God is. And there will be times that God works a miracle in your life, He intervenes on your behalf so that his power is put on display.
Miracles are not meant to just satisfy your desire for comfort, or to escape pain. Miracles put God on display and should cause others to be drawn to God. In fact today, I hope that some one hears the story of my friend Steven and sees not a man who overcame the odds, but a God who defies odds.
Let me ask you, what could God do in your life today that would put Him on display in a unique way?
Because let me tell you, God does uncommon things for common people so that knowing God would be a common thing. There is nothing more that God wants than for you to know Him and be known by Him! Our desire here at Hope City is to help people know God and take their next steps in their journey of faith.
Maybe for some of you, just being in church is a miracle, right? Like God intervened in your life in a big way, which allowed you to even be here. You never would have stepped foot in a church.
But for every person here, God wants to do a miracle in your life. He wants to transform your natural desires, your natural selfishness, your anger, your pride, your lust, your sin… and transform your heart in a supernatural way. Nothing is impossible.
Imagine what your relationships could look like if God were to do that today?
Imagine what your stress level could feel like if you allowed God to transform your heart.
Imagine what your finances could look like if you trusted God to transform your desires. Nothing is impossible.
Just like this wine, Jesus can step in and create something of incredible value from something simple, and ordinary. He can take an ordinary life like yours and mine and do extraordinary things with it when we surrender ourselves to Him!
So let me ask you this morning… Have you ever done that? Have you ever allowed God to transform your heart? As we will see in this series, Jesus intervenes on others behalf so that they would know God, and experience His transformative power in their life. Have you?
The Bible tells us that anyone who has trusted Christ is a new creation, and this morning I want to give you an opportunity to make a decision to trust Christ with your life. To place your faith in Jesus. If you’re ready for a change, for a miracle in your life, than today I want to invite you to put your faith and your trust in Jesus.
It is as simple as admitting that on your own, you are missing something. You’re missing God’s power in your life. You’ve tried to live life on your own for too long, living according to your plan, and ignoring God’s plan for your life. God calls that sin. Jesus died on the cross for your sins, so that you could be healed, forgiven, and made completely whole again. And so that you could have a relationship with God and spend eternity in heaven with Him.
Today you can make that decision to follow Christ very simply. You can pray something like this quietly in your own mind.
Pray, Heavenly Father, I trust you, with my life. Forgive my sins. Make me new, fill me with your Spirit, so I can walk in faith, walk in victory, living by your power. My life is not own, I give it to you. Thank you for new life, now you have mine, in Jesus name I pray.
God would you do what only you can do! Would you transform us from the inside out, and allow us to show the world around us how incredible you are, and how powerful you are. Give us the Eyes to see what you are doing and the feet to follow you!