PARABLES & MIRACLES
PARABLES & MIRACLES
1When Gabriel announced to Mary that God wanted to use her to be the mother of the Savior, Mary had a choice. She could have said, “Find another girl.” But she made herself available to God. If you want God to do the impossible in your life, you’ve got to be willing to surrender to His plan.
2These first few miracles in Matthew weren’t performed by Jesus, they are miracles of God surrounding His incarnation and birth. And examination and discussion of three aspects of the miracle of the Magi.
3The story of the first months of Jesus’ earthly life reads like an adventure novel. Joseph and Mary had to sneak out of Bethlehem by night. The villain, Herod, wanted to kill the Christ child, so he sent his soldiers into Bethlehem to kill all the boy babies under the age of two. We’re not sure how long Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had to stay in Egypt. But when it was safe again, God told Joseph in a dream it was safe to return. It’s possible Jesus was a toddler by the time they relocated to Nazareth. A study of the four different aspects of this miracle of deliverance.
4After Jesus was baptized, a miracle took place. The Holy Spirit visibly came upon Jesus and God spoke these amazing words, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” An examination of Jesus’ baptism and four important messages that God has for us.
5It’s sad to say that there are multitudes of misguided Christians who have fallen into the trap of seeking the sensational and calling it faith. Don’t confuse spectacular tricks with spiritual truth. If tricks and special effects were a testimony for truth, then we should all be worshiping Penn and Teller. God is awesome, but He doesn’t need to be noisy and dramatic. There is nothing dramatic about a beautiful sunset, but it has the signature of God stamped on it.
6The Kingdom of God is one of the most important doctrines in the Bible. Matthew is the only Gospel writer to use the phrase “kingdom of heaven” and he uses it 31 times. In Matthew’s account, Jesus told fifteen parable-stories, and twelve of them begin, “The Kingdom of heaven is like…” Five important questions about the Kingdom of heaven.
7There are two metaphors in this passage that help us understand Jesus. The parable we’ll study reveals that Jesus is a Fisherman—but He fishes for people, not for fish. The miracles of healing reveal He is the Great Physician who heals the sick.
8As we examine this parable about salt, I want to give you five uses of salt, and then lay down beside each use what this means to those of us who are salty saints—followers of Jesus.
9Jesus pointed out that a lamp under a bowl is worthless. Instead, when light was needed, the lamp was placed on a high ledge on the wall so it illuminated the entire house.
10If you focus on climbing the ladder of success so you can have more money to buy more toys, you’ll probably get it, but what will you have? I’ve known people who spent the best years of their life scaling the ladder of success only to discover toward the end of their lives that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.
11Most of us worry about so much more than the basic necessities of life. We worry about terrorism attacks, gas prices, and the stock market. But whatever you worry about, Jesus said that worry is a sin.
12When we judge others while ignoring our own faults, Jesus says we’re a hypocrite. That means that we playing a part—we’re acting—rather than being real. We can evaluate other people, but we must realize our evaluation will always be limited to the fact that we can’t see inside a person’s heart.
13Tolerance has become the catch word for “anything goes.” Tolerance means you can’t disagree with me because if you do, you’re intolerant—and the only people we DON’T tolerate are those like you Christians who are intolerant. What a double standard!
14The problem with some of our prayers is we want to God to answer our prayers RIGHT NOW! But God is more interested in timing than in time. Is there something you’ve been praying about for a long time, and it seems that heaven is silent? It could be God is waiting for the perfect timing to answer your prayer.
15Jesus said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many follow it.” As much as we might hope that most people would trust Christ, Jesus said that many are on the wrong road. Our nation was founded by God-fearing people who embraced Christian principles, but today we are a post-Christian nation.
16You don’t have to be a botanist to know the reason you can’t pick grapes from thorn bushes is that a plant only produces fruit after its own nature. An apple hangs on a tree because that tree has an inner apple nature. And Jesus said it doesn’t matter what a person says, you must examine their fruit—their lifestyle—to determine their true nature.
17I’ve often heard God can bless ignorance, but He cannot bless stupidity. Do you know the difference? Stupidity is informed ignorance that refuses to change. Jesus is talking about people who have been informed about God, but they simply ignore Him.
18Today when Jesus’ disciples gather here Sunday after Sunday, it’s a mountaintop experience as we praise Him and study His Word. But you can’t just stay on the mountaintop with Jesus. Monday through Saturday, you’ve got to go into the valley where the people are hurting and in need of Jesus.
19Have you ever noticed Jesus often talked to people the crowd rejected? He spoke to tax-collectors, prostitutes, lepers, and even little children His disciples tried to shoo away. And here Jesus speaks with a Gentile—and worse than that, a Roman soldier! We’re reminded here that Jesus receives any kind of person who approaches Him. That should give us hope today that none of us are too sinful to be outside the love of Christ.
20Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law and drives out demons. A discussion of how Jesus fulfilled Messianic prophecy.
21Thousands wanted to be around Jesus, but only a few really wanted to be His disciple. They wanted miracles and He wanted to make disciples. He wasn’t interested the crowd—He was looking for the committed. So after He and the disciples sailed to the other side of the lake, He encountered two unnamed men who indicated a desire to be His disciple.
22The miracle of Jesus calming the storm. Do you find yourself living in fear that things are going to go from bad to worse? When Jesus is in your boat, you can change your attitude so you’ll start expecting miracles.
23A discussion of the demonized men in Matthew 8. Signs of demonic control and how to get free and stay free of demonic influence.
24The miracle of the healing of the paralytic. A study of the effects of sin in our lives and how Jesus honors the faith and persistence of caring friends.
25The parable of Jesus as the Great Physician. What a medical doctor does for your body, Dr. Jesus can do for your soul.
26The study of three parables: The wedding celebration, a new patch on old cloth and new wine in old wineskins and how Jesus frees us from spiritual legalism.
27The miracle of Jesus’ raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead. How Jairus never gave up faith that Jesus could heal his daughter, even after it was reported she had died.
28The miracle of the healing of the bleeding woman. If you’re suffering, you can find healing if you will reach out and touch Him by faith. How to move from desperation to deliverance.
29There are at least five different kinds of faith. We talk a lot about faith, but many people don’t really understand it. People who aren’t followers of Jesus claim they just can’t have faith, but everyone practices some kind of faith every day of their lives.
30Most of us have allowed Jesus to become our Shepherd, and we are safe and secure in His arms. But this message is about seeing what He sees. When you have the eyes of Jesus you will look at others with compassion as well. Do you know what compassion really is?
31Jesus says we are to be like sheep, snakes, and doves but wolves are those who are enemies of the cross. An examination of these three animals and their human equivalents: Stephen, Esther and Paul.
32Jesus uses the example of the sparrow to give us three powerful reasons why you can say, “I’m not afraid.”
33What Jesus DIDN’T mean when He said, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” A study of how this part of scripture is commonly misunderstood.
34How taking the yoke of Jesus is the key to life. Some call it the full gospel, others call it the Sprit-filled life, or the Victorious Christian life, or the Surrendered Life, or the Christ-in-you life. Because we link up with Him in a yoke, He provides all the strength we need to live.
35God’s commandments aren’t to be a burden to us; they are principles help us enjoy life. And when we trust His Word, we experience His life-changing power.
36How Jesus turned the tables on the scribes and Pharisees regarding the Sabbath and healed the man with the shriveled hand. Sin deforms us, but Jesus heals our imperfections.
37A study of the only sin God won’t forgive: terminal unbelief. And the reason God won’t forgive that sin is because the person who commits it will never ask God to forgive them.
38Slander and gossip are cousins. They aren’t kissing cousins–they’re killing cousins. God listed gossip and slander with murder in Romans 1 because they are both character assassination. We sometimes make false, damaging statements about people because we don’t have all the facts, or we misjudge someone’s motives.
39Are you a sign-seeker or do you know someone who is? Jesus said those who do not believe the Bible wouldn’t believe if they saw a supernatural sign like someone rising from the dead.
40Jesus uses the example of His biological family to teach that we can be a part of another family, a spiritual family and how we can be a part of God’s forever family.
41The parable of the sower is a picture of the seed of the Word of God. There is amazing potential in that seed, but we must provide the right kind of soil for it to grow.
42The good news about the parable of the weeds is we don’t have to speculate about the meaning, the Lord gives us a full interpretation. Four personal lessons we can apply to our lives.
43The law of Christ is the law of Love. You are to love God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself. Spiritual maturity has nothing to do with age; there are plenty of adult Christians who still cannot feed themselves.
44In the parable of the hidden treasure, the finder wasn’t looking for treasure, he came upon it accidentally. But in the parable of the pearl, the merchant was diligently searching for just such a pearl. How these two parables represent two different ways people come into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
45The parable of the net is a twin of the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds. The spiritual message is the same; the only difference is Jesus used the analogy of fish instead of plants. Jesus was talking to fishermen as well as farmers. He knew this parable would apply to all the fishermen in his audience. A look at the message of the parable in three stages and personal applications of this truth.
46The miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 and the one word Jesus doesn’t understand: ONLY and three lessons we can learn from this miracle.
47The miracle of Peter walking on water is a picture of the ability to overcome the troubled waters of life. There were seven things Peter did that teaches us how to be water-walkers.
48A study of the faith of the Canaanite woman, an unnamed Gentile mother and the five steps she took in her crisis. We can follow her steps if we want to have a great faith.
49Just as the Pharisees didn’t read the clear signs of the first coming of Jesus,many people today are missing the clear signs that point to the second coming of Christ. Four spiritual signs that are too bold to miss.
50Jesus introduces the idea of the church and shares three truths about it to his disciples
51A comparison of the wasted life vs. the surrendered life.
52The transfiguration of Jesus offers a great lesson about worship. Worship is not a place; it is a person. You don’t need a building and you don’t even need a mountaintop. It’s not about a place; it’s focusing on the glory of Jesus. It’s meeting Jesus and listening to Him.
53I’m not saying that the word “impossible” doesn’t exist, I’m saying when it comes to living by faith in God we should remove the word “impossible” from our spiritual dictionary. Message about living by faith.
54Not only did Jesus pay His own temple tax with that shekel, He also paid Peter’s tax as well. Jesus paid a debt He didn’t owe and He paid a debt Peter couldn’t pay. The miracle of the tribute coins from a fish’s mouth.
55Some people think children have to become like adults in order to understand enough to trust Jesus. But Jesus said adults must become like children in order to be a part of His kingdom. In one respect, God only has Kids in His Kingdom.
56Most animals have teeth, claws, or a shell for defense; a poor sheep doesn’t have any natural means of defense. Without Christ we are dumb, directionless and defenseless. The main thing sheep need is a shepherd, and fortunately Jesus offers to be our good shepherd.
57Like instruments in an orchestra playing the same piece of music, so should all the members of the church and when the church is out of tune, it can get ugly. Four ways Jesus tells us we can tune up our lives.
58We love to talk about how God has forgiven us, but we sometimes choke on the idea of forgiving others. The world’s answer is simple: Payback time! But as Christians, we’re told to turn the other cheek; we’re told to forgive. But sometimes forgiveness is very difficult when we know the person who needs our forgiveness is going to keep on hitting us.
59In the parable of the rich young ruler, he was on a quest to find what was missing in his life, a quest everyone is on. There is only room for one god in your life, so choose very carefully.
60The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard is a picture of God’s grace. When we think about what the workers were paid, our immediate reaction to that story is, “Hey, that’s not fair!” Jesus didn’t say this is what the kingdom of this world is like. He said this is what the Kingdom of heaven is like. The world would call that fuzzy math, but the Bible calls it grace.
61The world determines greatness by how many servants a person has; but in God’s Kingdom, greatness is determined by how many people you serve. In God’s kingdom, first place goes to the servants, to the people the world puts at the back of the line of prominence.
62There is a blindness even more debilitating than physical blindness. It is the blindness that occurs when people with perfectly good vision REFUSE to see what God is doing.
63God’s collective address, the church, and God’s individual address, a believer. A discussion about how the things Jesus did in the temple courts are the things He wants to do in us today.
64Mountains come in all shapes and sizes. Jesus has a better idea than climbing a mountain. He says you can move a mountain. But sometimes instead of moving the mountain, God moves you.
65The parable of the two sons and how they describe our life in relationship with the Father.
66Uncovering four foundational truths about the character of God in Jesus’ Parable of the Tenants and a corresponding personal lesson we can apply to our lives.
67The parable about how the Jews rejected Jesus offers a spiritual application for us as well.
68Jesus’ response to the Pharisees and the Herodians when they tried to trick him with a question about taxes.
69Seven answers to seven questions about what heaven is really like.
70Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” That’s the driving principle that runs throughout the entire Bible.
71Four marks of a hypocrite according to Jesus.
72The Christian life is not a competition.
73While there is no way to name a specific date, Jesus gave three clues as the general time when we should be looking for his return.
74Jesus will come for you in one of two ways. Either you’ll meet Him in death, or He will return before your death. So you need to be prepared. Your death may happen suddenly or slowly, you don’t know. But for sure, His return will be sudden and surprising.
75Jesus contrasts the faithful servant to the wicked servant in this parable about readiness for the Lord’s return.
76The parable of the ten bridesmaids represents people in the church who are watching for the return of Christ.
77The parable of the talents contains four truths about how to properly manage the resources God entrusted us with.
78Sheep and goats may appear similar, but Jesus is not fooled and He will separate the real believers from the impostors at the Final Judgment.
79Worship isn’t about coming to get something from God; it’s all about giving Him something. When you bless the Lord, you can’t help but be blessed in return.
80God is not restricted to linear time like we are. The Lamb of God wasn’t just slain two thousand years ago; He was slain from the foundation of the world.
81The night He was arrested, Jesus could have called for twelve legions of angels to rescue Him from the mob’s hands—but He didn’t.
82The cross symbolizes how God can take all the bad things in our lives, and transform them into something good.
83Jesus stands alone as a man who claimed to be alive before Abraham and He predicted He would come back from the grave.
84A Christian who never attempts to share his faith has embraced the Great Omission.