About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Why Signs And Wonders


I've finished listening to a book on my Kindle reader entitled "By Signs and Wonders" by my friend Stephen Elliott.  So I've decided to write an article entitled "Why Signs and Wonders."


While being involved in the Charismatic Movement during the 1970's my friends and I traveled far and wide, from one meeting to another, seeking the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit.  What I noticed back then, and still notice today, is that some Christians travel to and fro seeking to experience a Holy Spirit induced emotional high, but is that what the Holy Spirit is all about?  A brief tour through the book of Acts will answer that question.        


Acts 2 recalls the Holy Spirit being given to 120 disciples in miraculous form.  It began in a room and spread to the street.  It drew a huge crowd to whom Peter, filled with the Spirit, preached the gospel that led 3,000 people to Jesus.


Acts 3 tells us that Peter and John healed a crippled man by the temple gate, resulting in them preaching Jesus to the Jewish authorities.  Soon after (Acts 4:8) Peter, filled with the Spirit, preached Jesus to them again.   


Acts 5 tells us that Peter, who must have been filled with the Spirit, pronounced death on Ananias and his wife Sapphira because they lied to the Holy Spirit.  This resulted in the church fearing God.


Acts 8 relates Peter and John laying hands on some Samaritans in a public space.  The Holy Spirit fell on these people in dramatic fashion as a witness to the gospel they had believed.


Acts 9 tells of Paul's miraculous conversion that took place on the side of a road.  It resulted in Paul being healed of blindness and being called to preach the gospel throughout much of the known world.   


Acts 10 details the miraculous outpouring of the Spirit on a Gentile family in their house.  This outpouring of power accompanied and confirmed Peter's preaching of the gospel.


Acts 12 relates Peter's miraculous escape from prison that resulted in him preaching the gospel with even greater fervency.     


Acts 13 recalls the Holy Spirit's prophetic call for Paul and Barnabas to be sent out on their first apostolic trip.  One of their first miracles was commanding blindness on a sorcerer, resulting in a local civic leader coming to faith in Jesus.


Acts 14 states a number of miracles Paul performed in various places, causing many to come to Jesus.


Acts 16 relates a vision Paul had where the Spirit redirected his travel plans which ended up leading more people to Jesus.  In the same chapter we see Paul and Barnabas' miraculous escape from prison which led the prison guard's family to Jesus.


Acts 19 tells how Paul met some men who had only believed John the Baptist's message and were baptized unto repentance.  They had not yet put their faith in Jesus.  They did not know Jesus had already come and gone.  Once Paul explained that they needed to trust Jesus for their salvation, not just John's message and baptism, he laid hands on them.  They received the Holy Spirit in miraculous form, resulting in their complete salvation. 


Acts 20 tells us that Paul raised a man from the dead after the man fell out of a window during Paul's preaching.  This resulted in a great witness for Jesus throughout the countryside. 


Acts 28 tells us how Paul should have died from a snake bite around a camp fire.  In miraculous form he survived, causing many to come to Jesus. 


What we learn from all of this is that the first generation believers experienced the miraculous, and for the most part, outside the walls of what we would call church.  Every display of the miraculous was in association with preaching the gospel and people finding Jesus.  This is why miracles are called signs.  They are road signs that lead people to Jesus.  The Holy Spirit was never meant to be a spiritual drug that induces an emotional high, as I'm sorry to say, some of us in our youthfulness portrayed Him to be as we preached to drugged hippies on the streets back in the early 1970's.       


If we want to see more of the miraculous, we must be willing to boldly preach the gospel of Jesus outside of the walls of what we call church.  Of course, we must preach the same gospel Paul preached, not the watered down, emaciated, gospel that is prevalent throughout much of the western world church today.  We cannot expect the Holy Spirit to confirm the gospel with signs and wonders if we aren't preaching the Biblical gospel.


So "why signs and wonders?"  The answer is simple.  They lead people to a saving faith in Jesus.  That's it.

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