Summary: The way we were miracle-embracing and, as a consequence of that, church was miracle-experiencing. you can also listen on line at www.preaching.co.nr
Today we will discover that “the Church as it was meant to be” was miracle-embracing and, as a consequence of that, they were miracle-experiencing. The experience of the supernatural was common among the early believers. Peter asked people why they were surprised at the miraclous. Acts 3:12 Some examples from Acts of the supernatural experience can be seen in the following references:
1. Speaking in tongues: 2:6-11; 10:46; 18:6
2. Power, signs, and wonders: 2:43; 4:33; 5:1-11, 12; 6:8; 8:6-13; 10:44-46; 13:8-12; 14:3; 15:12;16:16-18; 19:11-12; 28:3-6
3. Healing: 3:2-10; 5:15-16; 9:34, 40-42; 14:8-10; 20:7-12; 28:8-9
4. Feelings of awe, wonder, amazement: 2:43; 3:10-12; 12:16
5. Prophesying: 11:28; 13:1; 15:32; 18:6; 21:4, 10-11; 27:21-26
6. Guidance by visions: 10:1-48; 16:10; 18:9-11; 27:22-26
Our aim, in these teachings about “how church is meant to be,” is to revisit what God reveals in Acts about how His church was originally designed to function, and seek to do church the way God meant it to be.
Just as culture, denominational teaching and personal preference can influence the way we follow or don’t follow leaders or preach the good news, those factors can also influence how we embrace the miraculous.
Culture will accept the supernatural in occult practices such as tarot card, fortune tellers or ouija boards, but mock the church for believing in healings and miracles.
Some denominational influences are sceptical about miracles, even denying the supernatural power of God at work today.
Often, because someone has asked for a miracle and it has not happened, they no longer embrace the miraculous.
I have heard the following questions/statements so many times:
Does God really heal today?
If God is willing to heal us, why do we need doctors?
I’ve prayed for healing, but why has nothing happened?
Don’t I have enough faith to be healed?
I believe God healed me, but why didn’t it last?
If God heals people, why are churches full of sick people?
Approaching God, and biblical teaching about God, with our personal disappointments only leads to doubt and more discouragement. We must approach God with God’s revelation of Himself in our mind and heart, so as to encourage and increase faith in our God, for whom nothing is impossible.
As a local church we are most certainly a miracle-embracing community of believers, believing the revelation that for God nothing is impossible.
The question we need to ask is “are we a miracle-experiencing community of believers?”
What is a miracle? Well, it’s not good fortune, such as finding £5. Miracles are not something unlikely, such as Barrow winning the FA Cup.
To begin answering the question, “what is a miracle?” we need to define what the Bible means by a miracle. “ ...a miracle, then, is an unusual event (wonder) that conveys and confirms an unusual (divine) message (sign) by means of unusual power (power). From God’s perspective a miracle is an act of God (power) to attract the attention of the people of God (wonder) to the Word of God (sign).” (Miracles and Modern Thought, p.116. Norman L. Geisler)
In the New Testament these four Greek words are principally used to designate miracles:
1. Semeion, a “sign”, i.e., an evidence of a divine commission; an attestation of a divine message (Matt. 12:38,39; 16:1, 4; Mk. 8:11; Luke 11:16; 23:8; John 2:11,18, 23; Acts 6:8, etc.); a token of the presence and working of God; the seal of a higher power.
2. Terata, “wonders;” wonder-causing events; portents; producing astonishment in the beholder (Acts 2:19).
3. Dunameis, “might works;” works of superhuman power (Acts 2:22; Rom.15:19; 2Thess.2:9); of a new and higher power.
4. Erga, “works;” the works of Him who is “wonderful in working” (John 5:20, 36).
Reasons for miracles:
1. To Glorify God. John. 2:11; 11:40.
2. To accredit certain persons as messengers of God. The miracle authenticates the message and the messenger. Heb. 2:3-4.
3. To meet human need. Feeding the 5000.
4. As evidence for the deity of Christ. John. 6:2,14; 20:30-31.
5. Summary: Miracles get our attention. They instruct us. They are theological in nature (God-centred). They are moral and they have a distinct purpose.
Not all supernatural acts originate from God. Satan apparently has the power to cause events which cannot be explained on a purely natural basis. In other words, they are not just deceptive acts, i.e. sleight of hand tricks. See 2 Thess. 2:9, Rev.13:14; 16:14. The same Greek words are used to describe these events. They are, however, of a noticeably different calibre. Satan’s power is finite. His acts are meant to deceive. They are supernatural events but not miracles in the biblical sense.
Attraction to the Spectacular
Simon the Sorcerer was attracted to the spectacular of the supernatural when he saw people being filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 8.