Summary: God's Word tells us, and I believe it...we serve a mighty God...a loving God...a miracle working God. He wants to work in your life so that you will draw closer to Him and that through you others will also come to know Him.
HOW CLOSE IS YOUR MIRACLE?
I've tried to look at ministry through the eyes of Jesus. What was the message Jesus preached? If pastors are to carry out His ministry until He returns, it would be good to know what type of message and ministry Jesus had when here on earth.
The good news Jesus proclaimed was the gospel of the kingdom of God. A good summary of the message of Jesus is found in Mark 1:14-15 (READ) The heart of Jesus' message was both the proclamation of God's action..."the kingdom is near"...and the demand for a response..."repent and believe." This salvation was summed up in the idea that the "kingdom of God" is close...are you ready?
And for the rest of His public ministry, Jesus demonstrated that the kingdom of God was near by doing what? ...healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. Every miraculous act had a purpose...to confront people with the message that the kingdom had come and that they had to decide to accept or reject it.
This was the two-fold pattern of Christ's ministry which was repeated wherever He went. First proclamation, then demonstration. First He preached repentance and the good news of the kingdom of God. Then He cast out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead...all of which proved that He was the presence of the kingdom...the Anointed One.
Jesus told Peter that the "gates of Hell would not overcome the church"...and we learned that the gates of hell are the strongholds of evil and death...satanic powers that seek to destroy us (Ephesians 6:10-12)
And as Christ's instruments...we don't just cower in a corner hoping the enemy won't bother us...we wage war on these strongholds...replacing their dominion with the kingdom of God. We've been given the keys to the kingdom...the power and authority over the enemy.....but if we don't exercise that power, it's of no use.
The kingdom of darkness is organized to distract us...to prevent us from doing God's specific will. But everyone...according to Acts 1:8, can receive power from the Holy Spirit. And power is the ability...the strength...the might to complete a given task.
Now, in Luke 9:1-2, when He Jesus had called the 12 together...He not only gave them power... but also the authority to...Let's read this....(READ)
He gave them supernatural power and authority to do what could never be done by our own strength or ability. And the disciples followed Jesus pattern for ministry...they not only proclaimed the kingdom...they demonstrated the works and miracles of the kingdom.
For the past 3 months I've been trying to help you to understand that we've been thrust into the middle of a battle with Satan....a tug of war - and the prize is the souls of men and women...your family, friends and loved ones.
Now, Satan's captivity of men and women has many facets...and denying then salvation is his primary goal. But there are also other strongholds...bondage to sin...physical and emotional problems...social disruptions...and demonic affliction.
And our mission is to rescue those who have been taken captive by Satan and his lies. How are we going to do that? Ideally, as Christians we should all be saved, sanctified, filled with the Holy Spirit and set free to demonstrate the power of God through signs and wonders...as we find in Mark 16.
But in our case here at Goodridge Church of God...I think we need to first of all experience the power of God...and I mean really experience it...because only after we've personally experienced the miraculous, awesome power of God can we honestly testify about it...and follow Jesus' pattern of proclamation and demonstration.
And that brings me to my question for today. Can you personally testify to the supernatural power of Almighty God? For many, the answer will likely be "No." Well, I believe God wants to reveal His miraculous power to us...not to thrill us, or entertain us...or to make us think or seem more spiritual than someone else...
...but in order to be a visible demonstration of the truth of the gospel. If we are ever going to reach those who are so trapped by the deceptions of the world...they need to see that what we claim to believe in is real...and powerful...and able to meet needs and fulfill the deepest desires of the heart. Something that brings a peace that the world can never give!
It is clearly Christ's intention that the kingdom of God be spread by others in the same way He did it...through proclamation and demonstration.
The apostle Paul's understanding of this accounted for his tremendous success in Corinth. And it came after only a modest response in Athens (Acts 17). Now, in Athens, Paul argued eloquently...he preached a good sermon...at the Areopagus...but the result was that "a few men became followers of Paul and believed."