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In the Old Testament we read of many miracles.  The history of Israel in bondage; there God performed many miracles to free His people.  When they were freed from Pharaoh, they were led thru the Red Sea on dry land.  In the wilderness many miracles were performed: God showing His great mercy and power and majesty toward His people.  Marvelous things did He.  He divided the sea and caused them to pass through.  In the day time He led them with a cloud and all the night with a light of fire.  He clave the rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink as out of the great depths.  The miracle consisted in the Lord’s delivering His people through His out-stretched arm and in bringing them to the promised land of their abode.  And so we could go on and see all God’s wonderful works.

The greatest of all miracles is the virgin birth of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Christ coming into the likeness of sinful flesh, born of a virgin; the miracle of miracles.

In the New Testament we read of many miracles.  Christ making the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the sick made whole, the lame to walk, the dead brought back to life.  We read of them all and marvel at His great wonders.

The miracle spells redemption, the breaking through of grace.  The redemption from Egyptian bondage, the conquest of Canaan, God’s entering with His people into Canaan’s rest were all shadows.  The miracle is the work of God in His redeeming His people thru Jesus Christ the Lord.

Miracles were not all the same kind.  The typical miracles of the Old Testament brought into being, not the reality as such, but its shadow.  The typical miracles were thus prophetic of better things to come.  Miracles performed by Christ should be called symbolical, as they effected merely a physical healing and were thus signs and seals of the true healing consisting in Christ’s making whole the spiritually impotent sinner.

It is not then the typical nor the symbolical, but what must be called the true miracle (the incarnation, the cross of Christ and its fruitage, the regeneration of His elect, their spiritual healing, the regeneration of all things) that brings in the heavenly reality.

Miracles today.  Are there miracles in our present day?  I do not think so.  We have God’s written Word and the Holy Spirit was poured out after Christ’s ascension on Pentecost.  God has redeemed His own through His only begotten Son.  The Son of His promise in the Old Testament, who came in our flesh in the New Testament and who reigns now at the right hand of the Father, Who shall some day come and redeem His people to the uttermost.

“And He said to them all, If any man will come after me. let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23.

In the context we rend of the multitudes that followed Christ. And after the feeding of the five thousand Jesus and His disciples were alone. Jesus prays after which He asks them whom the people say He is? He then asks them whom say ye that I am? Peter answers saying, “the Christ of God.” He then tells them of His great suffering, and that all should reject Him.

Right after this Christ gives the text which I shall write on.

In it we read: Three requirements of true discipleship.

 

  1. Self-denial.
  2. Cross bearing.
  3. Following of Jesus.

 

First then: self-denial. What is self-denial for Christ’s sake? Oh, there is so much in life that we must be denied. Because of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we know God. and His blessed will. Often our hearts desire is denied us. Did not Christ leave His heavenly home, deny the blessed covenant life with His Father in heaven? He was cast farther and farther from Father’s love which He desired above all. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh that He might atone for the sin of His beloved people. He was the perfect One. If we would be His disciple we too must deny ourselves. Yes, it is oh so hard, for there is much that is of sin in us. and we often reply against God. Why must it be so? The answer is “for Thy sake are we killed all the day long”. We love God above all, and all things that are against Him we hate. Our life is not our own. We belong to Him who has died that we might live. If He has died for us, we in our life show that we do belong to Him and we shall follow in His footsteps.

Secondly: Cross bearing. Every Christian, every true disciple, has his or her cross. Jesus says, “must daily take up our cross.” Every day we have a cross. Some have a greater cross to bear than others. Many times we wonder if we can bear the cross that is placed upon us, it is so heavy, the cares, the worries of this life. God giveth sufficient grace for us to bear the cross. There is never a cross that is too heavy. Often, we are given a cross to bear to be drawn closer to the side of Christ. When we have many burdens and heartaches we look unto Him and cast ourselves upon Him. If we had no cross we would soon forget Him who is the giver of all. Daily we must go to Him with all our trials and heartache. He alone can help us bear the burden. Because of sin we have our Gethsemane. Christ in Gethsemane received no reply from the Father. But thanks be to His Name we are given an answer. We are comforted. Because Jesus received no reply and went into the eternal depths of hell, we receive a reply. The sweet words of Jesus, “thy sins are forgiven thee.” He gives us strength to bear the cross. And there shall come a day when our cross shall be taken from us, when we no longer shall be denied anything.

This leads me to my last point: Following Jesus: In this life we follow where ever He leads. It may be through great strife, or great joy, but follow we will. Where He leads me I will follow! He leads and we walk beside Him. We must do what He wishes us to do and what He will not have us do we must not do. Yea we must follow Him through the Valley of the shadow of death, but we do not fear. Even through death we follow, for He has opened the grave and we follow Him to heaven. Every day is a step nearer home. Christ has arisen and has ascended unto His Father and we must follow Him. Jesus has prepared a place for us. What a blessed thought here on earth where all is sin and evil! So many heart aches. There is an end to all our denial of self and cross bearing. For we follow Jesus to our home above, where we shall sin no more. We shall have a crown instead of a cross. Where all things shall be given unto us, we shall be denied nothing, for we shall see the light of our life, which is His glorious face. All longings and desires will be filled. Where want shall be no more. Where we shall praise His name for ever and ever.

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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