Matthew 12:38-42, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.”
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 to them, “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.”
Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
14-16a, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life……..”
“Show us a sign. Prove to us that You are Who You say You are!” Or for this present age, “prove to us that what you say (preach/teach) is true!” “If God is real, if Jesus is truly His Son, show us a miracle!”
I want to ask you, “as a true believing Christian, a follower, a student, a disciple of Jesus, the Christ (Anointed One), how many times have you been confronted in a normal conversation with your friends, family or co-workers, concerning your belief?” It is rhetorical and yet, even though I don’t get out much anymore, I still am asked that question, or presented with that situation, both in the “real” world and online.
I am asked those questions not just about the existence of God, MY Heavenly Father (not just any god), but also about the Bible; and why do I insist on calling it the Living Word of God?! After all, before proving that the Bible is more than just a book, that it is in fact God’s Book, you have to prove that there is a God! Don’t you? Show us some signs and wonders, some real miracles! Then we will believe!
When I was younger and just newly “saved,” born-again, spiritually reborn, whatever term you choose to use, I truly thought it was my duty to defend the Bible. After all, it was the Bible that opened my eyes to the TRUTH that I personally had been missing. You have to understand, right before my 17th birthday, I was and had been a “religious” kid. I was raised Catholic, (NOT knocking Catholics at all, just speaking from MY limited experience) baptized in the Catholic Church, had been through Confirmation, been an Altar Boy, attended Catholic school (part of the time in grade school), attended Catechism, but, still had so many questions about God and mankind in general. I LOVED talking to anyone who would listen and reciprocate when in High School, about “religion!”
The Church says this, we observe that, we don’t do this, this is what “we” believe. And YES, we had a big, a huge Catholic Bible sitting on our living-room coffee table. I used to try and read it every chance I got, but when I would ask the young Priest of my Parish what something meant, I was told the reason there are Priests is so that THEY can interpret and teach from the Bible because it is just too complicated for the “normal” person to understand.
It was about in my junior year in High School when I became friends with a young man who “seemed” to share my interest in “religion.” When I would talk to him about what the Church says is this or that, he would listen and then tell me that the Bible says this. He was never confrontational, just confident that when I said the Church said something, he would question its basis or foundation and then counter with what the Bible stated. I learned that when he would give me a Scripture, I could go home, open that big, huge Bible on our coffee table and sure enough, for the most part it said the same thing almost word for word!
That’s when the Holy Spirit started doing something within me! Like the proverbial fish gazing at a hook, I was seeing the bait dangling in front of me and hungering for what was there, and I was getting ready to strike at it, “hook, line and sinker!” It was the temptation of having real, deep probing questions answered in a simple, non-confrontational way! My thirst for more knowledge of Who God is and why are we (mankind) even here, and why did He create us, was promisingly close.
For me, the Word that became alive and living, the Word that caused me, NOT to turn from my “faith,” but caused me to move into a different direction, was when, at the time, my best friend (he is now my brother-in-law) quoted 1 Timothy 2:5-6, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, …….”
To be honest with you, he quoted the first SEVEN verses, but it was verse 5 and 6 that opened my eyes and changed my life forever! It was soon after that I was able to attend a special youth service his little church was having and as soon as the preacher called for people to come up to the altar, I struck with full force at that “dangling fish hook!” That night, I surrendered my heart, mind and spirit to our Heavenly Father in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and my life was never the same!
I said my life was never the same. It’s not like I had years and years of life behind me, but my thirst for knowledge ABOUT God, turned into a thirst for not just more knowledge, but an actual relationship WITH Him! I’m going to share something with you though, it didn’t go well with my family. My mother wasn’t concerned as much (she was my step mother and always took me to church) but my father would have none of it, for we were Catholic and that was that! (He NEVER went to Church though still claimed to be a Catholic), but my grandmother on my real mother’s side was ecstatic, for though she also was a die-hard (and very devout) Catholic, she told me my real mother (who passed when I was three) was the same as me, always going to other churches with her girlfriends.
I ended up moving out of our house with only the clothes on my back at age 17. My Aunt took me in, until I was 18. But oh was I learning! And the JOY I was experiencing despite all the teenage troubles and such!!! The only thing I told my best friend during those times, is that when someone makes a commitment to surrender their lives to Christ, maybe, just maybe we should let them know that it is analogous to accepting a bouquet of roses; it’s a beautiful thing, but beware of the thorns! The enemy of our soul, the devil, would love for us to remain ignorant and unquestioning, and when you make a life-changing decision like that he tries to wound you with “thorns” but you can’t have a relationship with our Heavenly Father through Christ Jesus without questions and without truly KNOWING Who He is and His unconditional love for each of us! And THAT takes experiencing what He has in store for you! THAT was my sign!
You might be asking at this point what any of this has to do with the main title and the topic of people asking about proof of God or the legitimacy of His Living Word. You know that old saying, “hindsight is better than foresight?” Well, it couldn’t be more true. When I left the Catholic church, it was at a time in the late 60’s when it was going through a lot of major changes. I had begun attending the local Community College and many of the students in my classes were Catholic friends. They could not understand my “denial” of the faith AND I was upset that the Catholic Church hadn’t been the one to show me what I considered a new and real truth! But – I tried so hard to prove that God was more than a thought and His Word WAS living and true! It took the Holy Spirit some time for me to realize AND recognize that Christ Jesus has His TRUE followers in every church that is not afraid to speak His Name or recognize Him as Savior. By the same token, I had to learn that every church who teaches Jesus as Christ also has those who are there out of tradition or obligation and not necessarily for the same personal reasons or with the same personal experience as myself.
This is the importance of the verses quoted above that the Apostle Paul penned to the Philippians when he told them to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:12-13. It IS God our Creator, our Heavenly Father Who does the work in each of us and it is for HIS good pleasure and will, it is only our job to be pliable and yield to any direction He wishes to take us. But – it IS a personal experience and we should view it with awe and sincerity before Him!
I have learned through time that the real PROOF of the veracity of the Bible, the Living Word of God is found in those of us who follow its teachings and precepts with a sincere and surrendered heart, mind and spirit. The proof is in the FACT that IT never changes, but it changes US! The same is true of the manifest Word of God, Christ Jesus, as the writer of Hebrews 13:8 states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Now in the Scriptures cited at the top of this article, I gave two different examples of times that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day tried to trip Him up and trick Him with demands of signs and wonders to prove Who He was. At least two different times, they demanded the same thing despite what He had already accomplished up until those times. These religious leaders had the writings of the prophets and patriarchs to guide them and show them what they needed to know to believe the truth that was standing right before their very eyes. The sad fact of the matter is, they had twisted and perverted the Words they had until that time to the point they couldn’t even recognize them manifested in the Man standing in front of them! It is no wonder that Jesus called them out and told them they were a “wicked and perverse generation!”
Today it is exactly the same and we are at a nexus; history is repeating itself all over again within the spiritual! The religious leaders of our day aren’t called Pharisees or Sadducees though; today they are called by other titles, but their lust for power and position is no different and they are doing all they can to take the Proof of the Living Word and by culling and ripping out of it what is an inconvenient truth for the maintenance of their power and egos, they teach a watered-down, twisted gospel so they can continue in their supposed authority. Then they have the audacity to say to those that teach the WHOLE counsel of God, “show us a sign! You are NOT Christian, prove to us by what authority YOU teach, for Christ would not do that thing or do this thing!” In their attempts to grow in number and influence, they forget that our Heavenly Father DOES LOVES ALL His Creation, but He does NOT love His Creation’s sinfulness and when they (His Creation) reject as false the only true Redemption available to them, they deny it is really God’s way to demonstrate that a part of His Loving Nature is also by demonstrating He is also a Just God! You cannot have unconditional, agape love, mercy AND grace without Godly justice as well!
Jesus told them as He is telling us today, “Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”—Matthew 16:3b.
Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
But today, it is not “politically correct” to point these things out. After all, you might lose some of your congregation, you might ostracize someone or a group of people as a whole. Isn’t it better that they at least attend and hear SOME of the truth rather than chase them away with the WHOLE truth which might offend them? What about letting them “work out their own salvation with fear and trembling” I ask?
I’ll give you or present you with a sign; AND it was not given to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, but to His followers. It was given not so that His disciples would fear, but so that they would be prepared and remain steadfast. It was given so that His TRUE followers would remain ever vigilant. I’ll present you a sign with the very words of Christ Jesus:
Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4-13, “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
35-39 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
The signs, the proof, the TRUTH is all around us. We need to remain vigilant and steadfast. We need to demonstrate by actions our love for others WITHOUT compromising the truth in the process. There are those coming using the (in the) Name of Christ, yet do not KNOW Him in a personal, surrendered life way. We have to be aware, be discerning and we have to cling to what the Word of God says is truth.
Jesus, Himself stated this as written in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
How can this even be? Doing great wonders and performing signs using His Name, yet He clearly states He doesn’t (didn’t) KNOW them! Just because we SAY we are a Christian and believe in (a) god, doesn’t mean we have a personal, “submitted to His will,” lifestyle that is directed and guided by Him, the One True God, our Creator, our Heavenly Father.
The best sign we can give? The best proof we can provide? “….work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:12-13.
I’ll show you a sign, I’ll give you undeniable proof:
WE AS TRUE CHRISTIANS ARE LIVING THE SIGN AND THE PROOF!!