We've talked about walking in the power of God and ministering to other people through the gifts that He gives us. I'd like to share some things about how this really glorifies God and how He expects us to use His supernatural ability. There are so many scriptures on this that I can only touch on a few. In Matthew 9 there's an instance where Jesus healed a paralytic man, and I'll deal with that in more detail in Mark 2. Matthew 9:8 says, "But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men." Did you know that the gifts of the Spirit—miracles— glorify God, and that's the reason He gave that miraculous ability to us?
When you start sharing with other people, there's a natural tendency for them to doubt and begin to question, "Well, how do I know what you're saying is true?" I once heard T. L. Osborne, a famous evangelist who led hundreds of thousands of people to the Lord, discuss his experience when he was first on the foreign missions field. He tried to witness to people, and they just didn't believe what he said. Finally, one day he was talking to a man, saying "But the Bible says," and the man said, "What makes your black book any different than any other black book?" Then T. L. Osborne thought, How do these people know the Bible is true? I have faith that the Bible is the Word of God, but how do I convince them?
He left the mission field defeated and discouraged, came home, and began to seek God. The Lord told him that he had to use His supernatural ability. Signs and wonders are for the purpose of validating the Word of God, which is what will change people's lives. In 1 Peter 1:23 it says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." God's Word is what changes people's lives, but how do you get them to believe that it really is God speaking? Well, that's the purpose of miracles. When we preach and say that it's God's will for a person to be healed, we demonstrate it by speaking over them in the name of Jesus. Their blind eyes or deaf ears that are opened validate that it is God. Miracles aren't going to change people, but they will cause them to believe that the word you've spoken is the Word of God.
A scriptural example of that is Mark 2:1‑9, where there is further detail on the paralytic who was healed: "And again he [Jesus] entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether it is easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk" (brackets mine). The truth is that both of those things are technically impossible. It's impossible for a man to forgive sins, and it's also impossible for a man to heal another person of paralysis. So if God could do one, He could certainly do the other.
Jesus said in verses 10‑12, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." Jesus made it very clear when He said, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy)." He produced the healing so people would know that if He could do things in the physical realm that they could see happen at His word, then spiritual things such as the forgiveness of sins could also take place. Jesus used miracles to validate His word.
This exact same thing is said in Hebrews 2:2‑3: "For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." It says that God confirmed this word by the power of the Holy Spirit. Put this together with Mark 16:20, "The Lord working with them, and confirmed the word with signs following." The point I'm making is that God wants you to use His supernatural ability and power to minister to other people. He uses the miracles that take place through the gifts of the Holy Spirit to confirm to people that He is actually speaking to them. Ultimately, He wants people to be set free in their hearts, but sometimes the way to a person's heart is through their bodies and their emotions. If you can deal with those areas and see a person set free, then they will open up and allow the Lord to touch the rest of their lives and literally commit their entire being to Him.
In 1 Corinthians 2:1 Paul was writing to the Corinthians, telling them how he first approached them: "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." He made it very clear that the reason he didn't come emphasizing and using words only but came in demonstration of the Spirit and power, was so their faith would stand in the power of God and not in the wisdom of man.
Christianity has wonderful logic to it. Once you see the truth, you wonder how you ever missed it and why everybody doesn't embrace it. But Christianity isn't only logic...it is a real experience with a real God. He's alive today, and He wants to manifest Himself in power exactly the same way He did in His Word. Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Jesus came and He was a man approved of God among us by signs and wonders and miracles. Acts 10:38 says, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." He had his word confirmed, and those miracles rang like a bell to draw people to His message. They glorified God. Many scriptures say that these miracles glorified God, and if Jesus had to use the power of the Holy Spirit to minister and to change people's lives, how do we think that we can do better than He did? If Jesus drew on miracles to draw people to Himself to receive His message, how can we possibly think that we can convince the world today without operating in the supernatural power of God? The truth is that miracles glorify God. They are a bell that draws people. It's like ringing the dinner bell—it's the food that will fill you, but it's the bell that gets your attention. Without the bell, some people are going to miss the meal. Without the miraculous power of God, many people are going to miss out on the fact that God is real and He can change their hearts and forgive their sins.
I encourage you to realize that God wants to flow through each one of us and work these miracles through us in other people's lives. Some of you may say, "But that intimidates me. What happens if I pray for a person and they aren't healed? How do I know this is going to happen?" You need to recognize it's not you doing the miracles; God is doing them. You don't take responsibility if the miracle works and the person gets set free, and you don't take the blame if it doesn't work. You just do the praying; God's the one who does the healing, but He has to flow through you. God wants to use you in miraculous ways. You need to get into God's Word, see how it worked for other people, apply those things in your life, and let the miraculous, supernatural power of God start flowing through you today.
- What is a miracle?Answer
- Read Mark 2:10‑12."10But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." - Mark 2:10‑12What did Jesus' miracle in Mark 2:10‑12 demonstrate that He had power to do?Answer
- Read Mark 16:15‑18."15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." - Mark 16:15‑18As believers, what are we to do?Answer
- Read Acts 8:5‑8, 12."5Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 6And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 8And there was great joy in that city. 12But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." - Acts 8:5‑8, 12What did the people see, and how did they respond?Answer
- Read Acts 3:12."And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" - Acts 3:12What did the Apostle Peter say about his own holiness producing miracles?Answer
- Read Acts 3:16."And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all." - Acts 3:16How do miracles happen?Answer
- Are there instances of miracles happening in the New Testament that were not by the apostles?Answer
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:7."So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 1:7When will the gift of miracles cease?Answer