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Stage 3

Signs and Wonders

"You know...how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him" Acts 10:37-38.

The Bible is packed full of miraculous events. The preaching ministry of Jesus cannot be separated from miraculous signs. In fact, Jesus said that His ministry of signs and wonders would not end when He returned to His Father.

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" John 14:12 (see also Acts 5:15-16; 19:11-12).

The book of Acts is a chronicle of the continuation of the miraculous ministry of Jesus through the first century Church (read Acts 2:42-43; 4:30; 6:8; 8:6; 14:3). But miracles did not stop in the first century. They have continued down through the ages. Even today, around the world, miracles are taking place as people preach the Gospel.

"[Jesus] said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation...And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well'" Mark 16:15-17.

Proclamation of the Gospel

"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power"1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (read also verses 1-3; 1:17).

The Gospel is the power of God (Romans.1:16) - not only to save a person from the future consequences of the Fall (eternal judgment) but also to reverse the immediate effects of the Fall (sin, sickness, disability and death). The Gospel is the power of God to break every effect of Satan's power over a person's life.

"...The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work" 1 John 3:8.

The Purpose of Miracles

Miracles are an integral part of the Gospel proclamation. But we need to understand the purpose of miracles so that we can see them in perspective.

Miracles point to the Lord

Miracles are signs. A sign on the road is just a pointer. It tells us which direction to look. In the same way, signs and wonders must point to the Lord and to the Gospel. We must never accept a miracle simply because it is a miracle. Even Satan can perform counterfeit miracles to lead people away from Jesus.

"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing" 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

Miracles are not the focus

"At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. 'He has done everything well,' they said. 'He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak'" Mark 7:35-37 (see also Luke 8:56).

Jesus often told the people He healed not to tell anyone about it. Miracles are not to be the focus of our lives. We should not broadcast the news of miracles in order to get more people to come to our church or to make a big name for ourselves. The news will spread by itself. The focus should always remain the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" 1 Corinthians. 1:22-24.

Miracles are not the whole work of God

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance" James 1:2-3.

Sometimes, when we are believing God for a miracle, we do not receive one straight away. This is not necessarily because of a lack of faith. The Bible calls this experience a "trial of your faith" (read 1 Peter 1:6-7).

Even Abraham waited 25 years before receiving the promised son. We need to understand that the work of God is much higher than just the miracle we are believing for. Faith itself produces a work in our lives that lasts for eternity.

"...for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" 1 John 5:4.

Miracles do not convince

"Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him" John 12:37.

If a person has hardened his heart against the Gospel, no miracle will convince him. Miracles only point to the Lord, so that a person may respond in faith to the message of the Gospel.

Confirming the Word

"...This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will" Hebrews 2:3-4.

Miracles are the supporting testimony of God Himself that the message of the Gospel is true. They are the seal of God's accreditation on the ministry of His Church.

"...Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs..." Acts 2:22.

We are not to focus on the miracles themselves. Instead, we are called to preach the Gospel. God will then confirm the Gospel proclamation with signs and wonders through our hand.

"Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it" Mark 16:20.

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Copyright 1981,1996 Paul, Bunty and David Collins. All rights reserved. This study may be freely used and reproduced, wholly or in part, by the Christian Church for the non-profit purposes of study and training only, provided copyright and contact information is included.

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