These Signs

Christ tells us supernatural signs will follow believers. (Mk 16:17-18) Does this mean we should all be healing the sick, casting out demons, babbling in foreign languages we haven’t learned, and handling deadly vipers without harm? That if we aren’t walking in the sensational then we’re carnal, or worse?

No; we don’t each have all the gifts, and this is by design. (1Co 12:29-30) Christ is speaking here about the body of believers as a whole over time; the supernatural has indeed been observed among the saints through the ages, but each believer has unique gifts based on the needs of Christ’s local body at any given time and place. (1Co 12:18)

The intent of God’s gifts is evidently not to entertain, or to inflate our egos, or make us appear super spiritual. The greatest mere man who ever lived (Mt 11:11) never performed a miracle (Jn 10:41); the Corinthians pursued supernatural gifts (1Co 14:12), yet remained carnal, babes in Christ. (1Co 3:1) Pursuing the supernatural for ungodly motives gets us nothing. (1Ti 1:5-6)

God gives gifts to help the church become more like Christ (1Co 14:26), to know Him as He is. (Eph 4:11-13) He also bears witness with evangelists (He 2:4) to enable them to proclaim the gospel to those who are seeking Him. (Ac 8:6) In themselves, even the best miracles don’t move those who aren’t seeking God. (Jn 12:37)

In a world full of churches little different from the world, and bibles seldom read, at least in 1st and 2nd world countries, where is the miraculous needed? (Mt 16:4) Can’t those who’re seeking God today find Him without signs and wonders? I, for one, didn’t need them, at least the kind most are seeking.

The miracles I experience enable me to navigate a perilous world without getting all tangled up in it; they help me live as I ought, facing an incessant stream of spiritual enmity. (Ep 6:12) It isn’t glamorous; no one can see it but me, but it’s what I need to live for Him.

As we seek God, wherever we are, and gifts from Him to help ourselves and others find Him, know Him and walk with Him, He will empower and enable us as He wills. In any case, to be safe in our pursuit of the supernatural, we must ever be seeking the Giver Himself, and not merely His gifts.

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3 thoughts on “These Signs”

  1. Tim,

    Extremely interesting subject, for myself. Thanks for posting, hopefully a few people will come across it. I have one “vein” of comment on your following paragraph, for consideration:

    In a world full of churches little different from the world, and bibles seldom read, at least in 1st and 2nd world countries, where is the miraculous needed? (Mt 16:4) Can’t those who’re seeking God today find Him without signs and wonders? I, for one, didn’t need them, at least the kind most are seeking.

    Like you, no [miracles as such] brought me to my knees. THE Holy Spirit brought me to my knees, and that IS a miracle. The question you ask, Can’t those who’re seeking Adonai-Elohim today find Him without signs and wonders? — is not the root question for myself. What IS the character of the Captain of our Faith? In the Psalms we are told to forget not all his benefits, he forgiveth ALL thine iniquity, he Healeth ALL thine diseases. 🙂 Working on my second pacemaker, and glad for it — my lack of forgetting his healing benefits, does not negate that THEY ARE AND THAT THEY EXIST, and that we are even admonished NOT to forget them. i.e… I don’t want to make excuses for myself or others.

    An interesting example: I have a friend who has worked evangelistically as well as pastorally. In his first foray into other countries… he experienced some what we would call, awesome displays of The Almighty Exercising Power. The folks who had invited him, asked him if he had the same ministry back home in the US — and he told them, truthfully, I have not seen this before, it is new to me. Back in the US the manifestations of what we would label as miracles [to HIM who HOLDS THE UNIVERSE in balance and together – I don’t think it is a strain in anyway] — back in the US, he has not seen as much. What is different. Are we O Ye of Little Faith 🙂

    Just a consideration. Pondering that to deny the “miraculous” by our life’s experience — is THAT a witness? Is that a Vision? A Goal?

    My thinking point is that we need to humble ourselves under the Mighty Hand of G-d as a body, more than we have. I wonder at times if we, the ecclesia, have more faith in ourselves and our own ability than in the Almighty?

    1. Absolutely agree! We should ever be mindful of the miraculous hand of the Almighty in our lives, and seek humility with our whole heart. Especially when there is sickness, I think we should be in prayer and seeking prayer. We need supernatural aid in our minds, in our marriages, in our families and children, in our work, grace and power and favor just to walk with God and be a good witness. No doubt.

      I think my point in this post is that we don’t need physical miracles to find God or to enjoy Him, or to validate our spirituality; neither do we need it to exalt ourselves or entertain us. God Himself is so much more than His gifts.

      Lack of the physically miraculous might not be a sign that we lack faith, as your friend’s experience demonstrates. His faith was likely much the same in the US and abroad; the difference was in the needs of those around him. Here in the US we have all of the access to God we need; other places maybe not so much.

      If we hunger for more of God, it will not be satisfied in the miraculous; that is not the purpose of miracles. Miracles point us to the reality of Messiah and the validity of the Judeo-Christian heritage: Scripture (esp. Torah). But we already have Torah: if that isn’t enough for us (and for most people who claim Christ today, it certainly isn’t), then no miracle will satisfy. (Lk 16:29-31)

  2. Tim,

    Miracles do not necessarily cause people to repent, the man who was told even if someone were to rise from the dead, if they will not hear Moses, they will not believe.

    While we don’t need miracles to believe, my point is that they ARE part of WHO HE IS in relation to us. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. The Word confirmed with signs following.

    And God [not man-the Almighty] hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

    While seeking gifts instead of the Giver is dangerous, ie. those who did many miracles in His name, but he [never] knew them. It still states that HE set apostles, prophets, teachers, Miracles, then gifts of healing in the Ecclesia [church].

    Some say, the day of apostles is over. The day of prophets is over. We don’t need teachers, Holy Spirit will teach us. And Miracles and gifts of healing have passed. I don’t see a scripture for that. The city where I live is not readily demonstrating Miracles and gifts of healing. There are those who claim to be apostles and prophets :).

    The psalms are called OT by some teachers. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

    Why would the NT be Less than the OT. I agree with your point, JESUS agrees with the point – blessed are they who believe but do not see [doubting Thomas]– I just have a difficult time excusing myself and anyone else for our lack of what Paul spoke about:

    For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power – I Cor 4:20

    Easy to be entreated, open to correction.

    stephen

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