Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church All Things New Series #1 “Come Forth”
Fakes Mark 8:36-37, Matthew 7:21-23
Throughout history people have faked many things to profit themselves. People have created fake art, fake documents and fake money. People have faked businesses, occupations and social status. Some have faked marriages for citizenship, while others have faked promises for votes. Many journalists have faked news for stories, many have even faked testimonials under oath…all of these fakers are deplorable, but the worst faker of all is the one who fakes miracles in order to be seen and worshiped as a god.
Recently Pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia Ministries in Africa blew up the internet when he raised up a dead man in a coffin, who reportedly came straight from the mortuary. That resurrection turned out to be fraudulent and Pastor Lukau now has multiple lawsuits filed against him. Unfortunately fakes like pastor Lukau have always been in large supply and always seem to have large followings even after they have been revealed as frauds. Pastors Robert Tilton and Peter Popov were revealed as frauds in an expose on ABC’s Primetime Live on November 21, 1991. They faked miracles and made millions off of gullible people. Today Robert Tilton has a struggling web show but Peter Popov is still on TV making millions and doing the same old tricks! Today many such spiritual fakes are making millions off of people who desperately want to believe in miracles. Evangelist/ healer Benny Hinn makes more than 75 million dollars a year off of his crusades. He has been exposed multiple times but still packs arenas all over the world. It is reported that not one of his healings has ever been medically substantiated.
Faking things does seem to bring an earthly profit. That is obviously why it continues in such a prevalent way, but spiritual fakes are especially playing with fire (Mark 8:36-37). These kind of fakers have no fear of the One True God who is in reality the only true miracle maker. Spiritual fakers will ultimately be rejected by Christ (Matthew 7:21-23) and incur the wrath of the God (Hebrews 10:29-31) who really does do miracles and raise the dead!
The Real Deal John 11:1-44, John 12:23-25, 32-33
In the entire Bible there are only 10 documented resurrections of the dead. Three in the Old Testament through prophets (One through Elijah, two through Elisha), and seven in the New Testament—five brought by Christ (Jesus performed three in His earthly ministry and then raised up Himself along with “many others” Matthew 27:50-53—later the Apostles Peter and Paul were both used to raise one dead person each). Every resurrection account is a stupendous miracle, showing that God Himself is the Source of Life and has the ability to give life to whom He will—even after death, but Fakes like Alph Lukau cause people to disbelieve even the Bible’s miracle and resurrection accounts and this has really got to make God angry.
Unlike fakes, the resurrection accounts in the Bible never made anyone rich and many of them were not even done in public. All who performed them were also severely persecuted. Not much of an earthly payment huh? Among these resurrections the one that drew the biggest noise was one that made Jesus weep (John 11:35). Likely because He had to bring His friend back to this earth to be murdered (John 12:9-11)—although we don’t really know.
Lazarus was a dear friend of Jesus who’s resurrection was used to drive Jesus to the cross so that He could make “all things new” for me and you! Jesus said so Himself in John 11:4. By “glorified” Jesus meant “be crucified”. The plot to kill Jesus rose from the popularity He gained by raising Lazarus from the dead
(See John 11:45-53). Lazarus was raised from the dead so that Jesus would be raised up on a cross to die for our sin…so that through the death of one (Jesus) the resurrection of many would come (John 12;23-33). That includes you and me.
“Come Forth”! Ephesians 2:1-5, Colossians 2:13-14
Jesus was only two miles (Jerusalem) from Lazarus (Bethany), when He got word that His friend was sick, but He stayed until Lazarus was “stone cold dead” and in the tomb for “four days” (John 11:17-18) before arriving. He did not want to be accused of faking Lazarus’ resurrection. Martha and Mary both said, when He arrived: “If you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, 32). Onlookers said that too (John 11:37). They couldn’t understand His tardiness. Neither do we when our prayers sometimes go unanswered, but God had a plan…He always does. “Believe!” “Take away the stone” He said. “But Lord…he stinks of death.” “Lazarus come out!”(“come forth” KJV) ,said Jesus and he did.
How can a dead man respond to such a command? Can a dead man do anything at all? How about all of mankind and you and me. How are we who are “Dead in sin” ( Ephesians 2:1-5) able to respond to such a call? It is because Jesus made the way and wills it so. He has made us, who have believed, alive in Christ. He has “canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness” and nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14). Like Lazarus, He calls us out of death and into life by name. Will you “Come forth”? “Believe!” He makes all things new.
“Rise from the dead” Ephesians 5:14, 2 Corinthians 5:17
Isn’t it ironic that we can laugh at the gullible looking for hope in fake miracle workers even while looking for hope ourselves in other superficial things. In the end we all die, in fact our creator says that we are already dead in sin, but He is truth among the lies. He makes all things new. “Wake up”—He’s calling!