The Return of Signs and Wonders

Posted: February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

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“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;” Mark 16:17

For centuries the early church operated in the apostolic gifts given at the advent of the upper room. Miracles, healings, casting out of demons and, yes, signs and wonders. But up at about the 3rd or 4th century, a dramatic change began to occur within the established church, it was the diminishing works of the Holy Spirit. By this time, miracles, supernatural healings, tongues, the Pentecostal experience with signs and wonders following the believers began to fade. Many attribute this to the shaping of the changing world and Christianity as a whole, including the influence of the early establishment of the Catholic church. By the 5th century and throughout the dark ages, up until the 19th century, the gifts of the spirit had long dissipated and was not seen among the faithful group of believers in vast outpourings. Although the Holy Spirit did in fact work within small, distant groups of believers, the majority of the gifts were not occurring and did not sweep the earth as it did in the upper room in 33 A.D. That would change however at the turn of the 20th century in 1906.

The advent of signs and wonders is not only a promise to every believer, it is the mark of a person who has been truly called by God. (Mark 16:17) Even in the most smallest of settings or the most rural places on earth, signs and wonders are to follow a believer. But in many circles within the Pentecostal/Charismatic groups, signs and wonders have either become down played or shunned. This is not how it should be.

Why do we have signs and wonders then?

The #1 reason why we desire signs and wonders in our walk or ministry is that signs and wonders testify of God’s presence. Second, signs and wonders serve as a confirmation of a person’s ministry or message. Thirdly, signs and wonders meets the needs of the people and finally, signs and wonders increases our faith.

All throughout the Bible, God used signs and wonders either as a warning to others or as a witnessing tool for the glory of God. Here are some examples of signs and wonders:

The sun stood still at Joshua’s command. (Joshua 10:12-14)

Water flowed from a rock when Moses struck it. (Exodus 17:5, 7, Psalms 78:15-16, 20)

The Red Sea parted so that God’s people could cross. (Exodus 14:22, Hebrews 11:29)

An iron ax floated on water. (2 Kings 6:5-6)

The waters were turned to blood. (Exodus 7:17)

The dead were raised to life. (Hebrews 11:35)

Jesus performed signs and wonders as well:

He changed water into wine. (John 2:1-11)

He walked on water. (Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:42-52; John 6:16-21)

He took money from the mouth of a fish. (Matthew 17:24-27)

He fed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes. (Matthew 16:8-10)

Even the early Disciples performed signs and wonders:

Peter’s shadow healed many who were sick (Acts 5:15)

Those bitten by poisonous snakes remained unharmed. (Mark 16:18, Luke 10:19, Acts 28:3-6)

Signs and wonders served a purpose then and they serve a purpose now. The problem is, we’ve allowed stigma’s, personal pet doctrines, even false signs and wonders, to hinder God’s work. The truth is, many in the church today have made a decision that if they cannot control the Holy Spirit themselves and regulate true signs and wonders, they will teach and, in some cases, pressure others not to allow signs and wonders within their midst. This is the current state of the modern church, one side wants the gifts, while the other side would simply not have the gifts operating in their midst.

So what is a believer to do? The word always trumps men and their doctrines – always.  The Holy Spirit has provided for the gift of miracles in the church. (I Corinthians 12:10-11, 28, 29). The Holy Spirit and him alone dictates how he operates, not us. Meaning, we are the vessel and he is the filler of that vessel. When we allow God to work as he desires without impunity, then miracles begin to happen. The problem is, mean, fearing the presence of God, simply is afraid of allowing God to have his way – why? Because man fears he will lose control, but god reminds us that he (man) is never in control when God comes into place.

But should we desire signs and wonders? YES! The Apostle Paul spoke many times of God anointing him with signs and wonders (2 Cor. 12:12) to fulfill his mission. Paul even speaks about signs and wonders, gifts of the spirit as legitimate tools for the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11, 1 Cor. 12:7-13) The fact is, signs and wonders are to be flowing with every believer who is walking in the spirit, not the flesh. If signs and wonders do not follow a believer, a preacher, a prophet, a pastor, then something is seriously wrong.

People are easily impressed with the spectacular. Scripture says that the crowds in Jesus’ day “marveled” and were “greatly astonished” at the things done in their midst. The same should be said during our day! But are they? The answer is no, they are not. The #1 reason is fear. Fear is a dangerous foe to the working of faith and when a believer turns to fear, it breeds doubt and unbelief and when doubt and unbelief are birthed, the Holy Spirit cannot operate as he would have. Even Jesus could not heal the sick in Nazareth simply because the people had such a level of unbelief that Jesus could not perform miracles.

Others are afraid that they will be accused of working in dark magic by the hand of Satan, however, even Jesus was accused of performing miracles by the spirit of Beelzebub. (Luke 11:14-26).

The fact is, every believer, especially preachers, need to ask God everyday that signs and wonders are performed in our midst. Not that we follow signs and wonders, they follow us, yet, if they are not following us, we need to seriously ask ourselves as to why? Some will say, “Signs and wonders only work with a few.” well, is that true? No, it’s not. The word of God makes no distinction between individual works and collective works, meaning, the promises outlined in the word itself, Mark 16:15-18, 1 Cor. 12, all make it clear, signs and wonders will work, should work and must work within all those who will yield themselves to God and to the Holy Spirit. If not, then the believer is not operating in complete yielding and the individual themselves are out of the will of God.

When I pray for my services, wherever I travel and go, I specifically ask God for signs and wonders to follow him as promised in his word, why? Because I desire the Holy Spirit in all of his wonder and glory. I desire his essence, his spirit, his love, his grace, his power, not to lift me up, but that Jesus Christ is lifted up and all the world can see the glory of God.

That is the reason why we must return to the old paths, the paths forsaken, to return back to where we allow signs and wonders, the preaching of the word, the gifts to flow in these last days, not to draw men to our ministry, but to bring sinners to the cross and edify the body of Christ.

Christopher Gregory

 

 

 

 

                      

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