Tony Evans — Stop Blocking Your Miracle
Believing is seeing, experiencing the supernatural. Our goal for you, for us, is to not limit yourself to the natural and miss the supernatural. What I wanna talk to you about today and what I wanna challenge you with today is to stop blocking your miracle.
I'd like to suggest to us today, based on the Word of God, that a lot of us haven't seen God come through 'cause we're holding God up. We are delaying or denying his supernatural presence into our situation and into our circumstances.
Now, let me explain what I mean by something that is supernatural. God has natural laws that govern the world. The world works by natural predictable laws. That's why science is possible, because they can see the laws at work and draw conclusions based on the consistency of the law. The sun rises, the sun sets. The law of gravity: things that go up, things go down.
First law, second law of thermodynamics. There are laws that are predictable. It's the way the world works, but when I talk about something supernatural, I'm talking where God trumps his own laws. It is where God overrules himself. He has set the laws in place, but a miracle is when God overrules a law he set in place in order to accomplish something he wants to do.
When you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you entered the realm of the supernatural, which means that you have access to that which operates outside of the natural. The problem is that we're so tied to the natural, we often miss, resist, or deny the supernatural. Our story is a very familiar one in John, Saint John chapter 11.
It is the story of the resurrection of Lazarus. I've mentioned that on a number of occasions, but today I wanna take you on a little, deeper journey into this story. Now, to summarize, the whole chapter is about this one story.
To summarize, Martha and Mary have called on Jesus to heal their brother Lazarus, who's sick. Jesus has said, "His sickness is not unto death," and Jesus delays going to help their sick brother get better. During the interim of Jesus' delay, Lazarus dies. Jesus shows up too late. He dies after saying he wasn't gonna die, after they had called on him.
We have two frustrated sisters. Martha, the verbal one, says, "Jesus, if you would have been here, our brother would not have died. Where were you when we needed you? Where were you when you call-- we called on you? And, you know, we heard the sermon that things were gonna get better, and they've only gotten worse."
Martha, the quiet one, just went home and started weeping, and she, too, said the same thing, "Jesus, if you would have been here, our brother would not have died." That's the scenario of the story up until this point, and if the truth were told, there are many here today who have been disappointed by the Lord.
The Lord didn't do what you clearly understood he said he was gonna do. When you thought he was gonna be in a hurry, he's taken his time. When you thought he answered your prayer, the answer was the opposite. In fact, if the truth be told, some of us believe God actually made stuff worse by his negligence and by his delay and even by his denial, if the truth were told.
Verse 38, "So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it." Jesus was being deeply disturbed by the pain, the anguish, the emotion of what he was dealing with in the life of Martha and Mary.
In fact, in verse 35, the shortest verse in the Bible, it says, "Jesus wept." So, Jesus cried at the pain. He shared the pain of Martha and Mary, but let me tell you something about Jesus' emotions.
While Jesus sympathizes with our infirmities, Hebrews chapter 4, Jesus would never let her emotions govern his theology. He would feel it, but he wouldn't let how he felt about it determine what he did, because his commitment to God's truth had to override his emotions at the moment. So, he is crying with her, but at the same--and he's moved by the scenario, he's anguished about the situation, but at the same time he now seeks to address the problem.
So, he comes to the tomb, and when he gets there, he issues a command, verse 39, "Jesus said, 'Remove the stone.'" There is a stone, a large boulder, over the cave where Lazarus' body has been buried, and Jesus says, "Remove the stone." He ushers a command that involved action.
Martha, mouth, 'cause she's the talkative one, says to Jesus, "Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to him, 'Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.'"
She did what most of us do when Jesus issues a command that we neither like nor understand. She enters the conversation with human logic. Please don't miss this. Everything she said was correct.
Jesus heard her do what he hears us do when we either do not like or do not understand his instruction. We argue back with him with human logic. That may be absolutely correct.
Your facts may be impeccable. You are absolutely correct, Martha. Dead four days. He does stink. Jesus responds, "And Jesus said to her, 'Did not I say to you--'" Let me stop right there. Can't you hear? Are you not paying attention?
Nothing will block the supernatural movement of God in your life like your logic, your edumacation. Some of us have educated ourselves out of the supernatural. We're just too smart for God, too intelligent for heaven, too brilliant for the kingdom of God, and so we live with our logic, and so we live only in the natural.
"Didn't I say to you--" Can't you hear, girl? What did you say to her, Jesus? "Didn't I say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" Didn't I say to you if you believe, you would see?
Okay, now, you get the exact wording of our series: believing is seeing. He didn't say if you see, you would believe. He said if you believe, you would see. Too many of God's children are from Missouri, and from Missouri, you got to see it first.
In the natural, you see before you believe, in the natural, not so in the supernatural. In the supernatural, if you believe, you would see. What would you see? The glory of God. What is the glory of God? It's God on display. The glory of God is God revealing himself as God in your circumstance. The glory of God is when God advertises himself.
The glory of God is when God puts himself or his attributes on a billboard so you can see God at work, but you will not see it in the physical until you believe it in the spiritual. You and I are blocking our miracles when human logic, that even if it's correct, trumps what God said.
You have just done what Matthew 13 says. "He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief." So, you will be limited, I will be limited, we collectively will be limited to the natural when we do not move the stone. That is, when we do not act on what God has said, whether we understand it, can figure it out, like it or not. And that is what often happens with Christians, limiting us to the natural, because we can't figure out how God's gonna do this.
We can't figure out where this is gonna come from. So, "Didn't I say to you that you would see with your own eyes the glory of God, but you won't see the supernatural till you believe? And you believe by doing what I told you to do."
od is saying, "I'll wait. I'll wait until you decide to believe. I'll wait till you decide that you're not gonna just throw facts my way like I don't know what I'm talking about. I created the world, and you're going to describe to me biology."
Let me tell you something about the will of God. God has a revealed will, that's what he says in the Bible, and he has a secret will. Deuteronomy 29:29 says that "the secret things belong to God." He hasn't revealed them.
Now, here it is. You cannot get to God's secret will if you've ignored his revealed will. In other words, if he says move the stone, or whatever it is in your situation he tells you to do, but you have to see what he's going to do before you move the stone, you'll never see what he's gonna do, 'cause he'll keep secret his secret will until he sees you believe his revealed will.
So, if you don't do what you know he said, he won't show you what he's up to in secret, in the supernatural realm, and you can't figure it out ahead of time 'cause he's the unfigurable God. His ways are not your ways, his thoughts are not your thoughts, Isaiah 55, so you can't figure out, "Well, what is he gonna do? How is he gonna do this? Before I move the stone, let me try to figure it out." That's an Excedrin PM Headache.
Now, watch this. Verse 31, "So they removed the stone." So, there were people who were brought alongside to help her move something she could not move herself. Too deep. That's why you need community. That's why you need people around you to help you move stones you can't move, because God won't move until the stone is moved. So, if you cannot move the stone, get some people who care about you enough, who're crying with you enough, who love you enough to put their hands on your stone that you gotta move.
Everyone in here should either be getting help to move a stone or be helping somebody else to move a stone, 'cause if you're helping somebody else, that means you've got some folk who can help you. That's what church is supposed to be, and so they help her move the stone.
Now, it's gonna get deeper now, 'cause, "So they removed the stone. Then--" The Bible says in Hebrews chapter 7, verse 35 that Jesus is our intercessor. The Bible says in Romans 8:27 the Holy Spirit is our intercessor according to the will of God, so it has to be God's will, of course. God just doesn't do everything we want because we want it, but there are a lot of things in God's will he's waiting to do after he's seen faith in action.
So, he says--then Jesus says, "Raised up his eyes, and said, 'Father, I thank you that you have heard me.'" "Father, I wanna thank you that you have heard me." Let's put it another way. Let me say what he didn't say. He didn't say, "Father, I thank you that you are hearing me."
He does not speak in the present tense. He speaks in the past tense, so let's talk about the doctrine of tenses, 'cause tenses matter. When Jesus said to the Jews, before Abraham was, "I am--" That tense matters. Not "I was," "I am," which was the name God gave Moses. That, "I'm God. I am that I am," so tenses matter.
He says, "Thank you, Father, that you have already heard me," which means whatever he's getting ready to talk about, he has previously discussed. "God, you and I discussed this earlier." Stay with me now.
We kinda get a hint of that discussion back in chapter 11, verse 2, "And the sisters sent word to Jesus, saying, 'Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick.'" Lazarus. "But when Jesus heard this, he said, 'This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so the Son of God may be glorified by it.'" So, let's look at what happened here. "I thank you, Father, that you've already heard and we've already talked about this."
In other words, "When they sent word to me about the need of a miracle, you and me, Daddy, had a meeting, and in our meeting, when we discussed this, we agreed that when we saw faith, we were gonna do a supernatural work. You and I have already had this meeting. But even though you and I have had the meeting in the spiritual realm, they're not gonna see what we agreed on in the physical realm until the bridge of faith is built so that my intercession for them becomes you bringing to pass what has already been agreed on."
So, why is that important for you to know? That your supernatural miracle, whatever is in God's will to do, has already been agreed on in the spiritual realm. That means you do not have to beg God to do something that is in his will to do.
It's not you waiting on God, if he's agreed to it. It's him waiting on you to move the stone so he can let you see what was already previously agreed on. It's called the intercession of the Son and of the Holy Spirit bringing into the physical realm what has previously been agreed on in the spiritual realm once faith has been exercised, even if it has to overrule logic and correct logic.
This is the intercession of God. What a great truth, that God stands like a defense attorney between the client and the jury to plead your case about something that's already been agreed on in the spiritual realm.
That's why the Bible says he's already been to the end and then he backs up to the beginning, so he already knows where this thing is going, but faith activates it in your experience. Are you trapped? Does the scenario stink? Is the only hope for this thing a resurrection? You qualify for the supernatural.
Watch this. "When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come forth.'" Notice the specificity of the cry. Not "y'all, come forth," 'cause then everybody from the graveyard would have got up. What he requested was the specific answer to the specific request, not a general answer that applies to everyone.
When you need a miracle, you ain't talking about everybody. You're talking about, "It's me, it's me, it's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer." You need him to call your Lazarus, not just some vague answer. Oh, by the way, that's how you know it's God, when he calls it by your name. Lazarus, a specific answer to a specific need in a specific situation predicated on a specific request. "Lazarus, come forth."
Now, watch this. I don't want you to miss this. Getting ready to close it out here, but don't miss this, 'cause it says, "The man who had died came forth, bound hand and feet with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Unbind him, and let him go.'"
Okay, watch this now. It says he came forth, but he didn't come forth walking. He came forth shuffling... 'Cause he was still tied up. Said he was tied up around his legs, around his hands, around his head. He was still wrapped in death cloth, so watch this now. He was alive but he was not liberated, 'cause he was still tied up.
Now, he had a miracle. The miracle was what was dead is now alive. So, he comes walking out 'cause he's tied up, but guess what Jesus did. He called a small group. He said, "I want y'all to untie his legs, and I want you to unhook his arms, I want y'all to unwrap his head, because I want the other folk to participate in my miracle."
God just doesn't wanna do miracles that exclude you. He wants to do miracles that include you. You are part of the miracle. He did enough to get it going. He says, "I want you all to finish it off so that you can see how I can use people in the lives of circumstances to do what they can do. I'll get him alive, y'all can at least unwrap the boy." You and I are participants.
That's why 2 Corinthians chapter 6 says we are workers together with him. He will do what we can't do. He wants us to do what we can do so that we become partners in the supernatural miracle-working process. And it closes by saying, "And many believed on him."
So, let me tell you something. God doesn't do miracles just to show off. He doesn't do the supernatural to flex his muscles. He does the supernatural so that his name will be known. Many believed on him.
That's the problem with a lot of folk coming to church looking for a blessing. They're looking for, "What God's gonna do for me. I want a new house, new car, new clothes, new this, new that. Do something for me. Bless me. I want my blessing. I want my blessing, my blessing."
And then after God does something, he gets no notification, no glorification. You're not witnessing. You're not talking about him. You're not giving him the credit. You're not responding and giving. You're not doing anything. You're just talking about your blessing. He doesn't just bless you for you. He blesses you for his name, his glory, your impact, your testimony, your ministry.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. When you get your supernatural, you better open up your mouth, and you better declare the greatness of your God, 'cause only your God can go into your grave and raise you up and give you life. You better give him the glory due his name.