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The Bible has a lot to say about miracles. Oftentimes, sadly, our perspectives, attitudes and actions are not influenced by the Bible when it comes to this topic, but by myths, fables, opinions of people and the environment in which we’re in.
Our theology matures as we mature. When you were a child, you thought like a child, you understood like a child. But Paul tells us when you become a man, a woman, you put away childish things.
The greatest miracle that we can agree on is this: it’s when the light of God’s forgiveness and salvation penetrates a darkened, sin-filled heart and that person becomes born again. When that takes place, that miracle is the greatest miracle that can ever exist.
Mark 6:7 says, “Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.” The language of impure spirits means demons. Now, this teaching is not entirely on demonology, but I want you to see that Jesus speaks to the reality of demons and demon spirits.
Note what he did when he sent his disciples out two by two. They were charged not just to preach or proclaim; they were charged to use power. In fact, Mark 6:12-13 says, “They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”
The gospel message is not pretty words. It’s not philosophy and wise statements. The gospel message is not religious jargon. It is not a philosophical worldview that’s just wrapped around Jesus.
The gospel message is a two-fold dynamic. There is proclamation, a calling of people to repent, turn their hearts, change their minds from how they used to live and to live for God.
That’s one part.
The second part is that there must be a companion demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s not the gospel if it’s simply just the word, it’s the gospel when the word is supported by the demonstration and the power of the Holy Spirit.
The word alone does not complete the gospel message. The word must be joined together with the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a controversial topic but it is possible to understand it.
Let’s start to understand it by asking some questions.
Question One: WHAT should I believe?
Look again at Mark 6:12, it says, “They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”
I should believe the gospel requires both Word ministry, which is calling people to repentance, and power ministry, so that the gospel is very transformative when it is confronted or confronts someone.
My beliefs are dictated by my attitude and actions regarding miracles. So if, for example, I don’t believe in miracles, it’s going to affect my attitude and my actions regarding every Bible passage that talks about miracles.
If I don’t believe in the reality of miracles, that means I’m also going to say, though not verbally, that everyone I come into contact with, can never expect God to use me to help them when their case calls for some type of supernatural encounter from God.
Why? Because I don’t believe in miracles, so what I believe affects everything.
I will admit this, there are a lot of things I don’t understand about God, about healing, about miracles, about deliverance or helping people get set free from the bondage of Satan. But there’s one thing I do understand, and that’s this: God has called each of his children to follow Christ’s example.
Jesus provides another example in Acts 10:38. It says, “Then Jesus arrived from Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, ready for action. He went through the country helping people and healing everyone who was beaten down by the Devil. He was able to do all this because God was with him.”
So remember my question, what should I believe? I don’t understand everything but I do believe and understand I have a moral, social, spiritual and relational responsibility to help people become unburdened from the powers of darkness.
If that is my responsibility, I need to then figure out a way to tap into God’s power, though I don’t understand everything.
But I want you to understand this fact. I have a moral, ethical, social, spiritual and relational obligation to help people become unburdened from the powers of darkness.
In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Paul says, “And so it is with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”
Paul believed that the gospel has a companion power that distinguishes it from vain philosophies and even wisdom. The gospel is more than just wisdom. The gospel is the wisdom of God and the power of God.
It not only shatters the heart of the irreligious and people that are bound in unbelief and sin, but the gospel also is the uplift. It is the social uplift that means God picks you up out of a downtrodden life. He brings you out of burdens and passivity brought on by the hellish hordes of Satan and his impish friends, demons.
The gospel picks you up to cause your life to flourish.
We, Westerners, struggle big time with this because our intellect gets in the way. We try to rationalize and use Aristotelian thinking, the five senses to gather information. We must guard against letting our intellect get in the way or become a hindrance to Holy Spirit activity.
And so I want you to recognize the gospel has to have both. It is the proclamation, the word and the power of the Spirit that makes the gospel. So the question I’m asking is this, what should I believe? Your beliefs make all the difference in the world. And so I believe that God wants to use me to help people get set free. And I want you to believe the same thing, though you’ll still have lots of questions.
Let me give you a second question that helps us to frame our worldview when it comes to faith in miracles.
Question Two: WHY believe?
Why believe in the reality of healing and the validity of miracles? Why believe in God’s power? Why believe that God can use you to get people set free? And the answer is, your beliefs dictate the quality of life people under your influence will experience.
I love what St. Augustine had to say on the topic. He says, “I never have any difficulty believing in miracles since I experienced the miracle of a change in my own heart.”
I don’t have any difficulty in believing that because I recognize what I used to be, and I recognize the change that took place in me. And so, if the greatest miracle of salvation is so evident in front of us through changed lives, why struggle for God to do a lesser miracle by healing someone physically or setting someone free spiritually?
My belief also impacts me.
Look at Mark 6:1-6, it says, “He went away from there and came into His own country. And His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man get this? What is this wisdom that is given Him that even miracles are done by His hands? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house.’ He could not do any miracles there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He was amazed because of their unbelief.”
Why couldn’t these individuals in Bethany, Jesus’ hometown, experience the power of God operating in their midst? It wasn’t because God was unwilling or unable.
It was simply because they dishonored Jesus. Dishonor connects with faith. And dishonor eroded away faith when they no longer saw Jesus as a man of God.
They saw Jesus as an ordinary person. They said, “Isn’t this the carpenter? Don’t we know his sisters, his brothers? Who does he think he is?”
That same perspective can carry over into how we see others. We can fall into the same kind of trap and say and believe things like, that’s just pastor so-and-so, that’s just a life group leader, that’s just one of the deacons in the church or that’s one of the ministers.
Maybe we find ourselves saying, that’s just my mom, that’s my dad or that’s just my kid.
When you have that kind of perspective over people that are God’s children, you will never have an expectation for God to use them to help facilitate your healing, deliverance or breakthrough. Why? Because dishonor creates unbelief. Dishonor erodes faith. Dishonor is like kryptonite to expectation, like kryptonite to Superman, it makes him just a mere mortal.
When you have dishonor, familiarity, no expectation, and say they’re just they’re so and so, you’ll never see the power of God working through that person to minister to you.
Some time ago I was involved in a conference. There were a bunch of us ministering to people, laying hands on the sick, seeing people getting healed and speaking prophetic words over them.
I was marveled by how God was using one of the other ministers and then he said something to me that was odd, but very telling. He said, “David, every time I go out and travel outside of my home church, God uses me powerfully in the gifts of the Spirit, and miracles and healings take place, but when I’m at home in my home church, God never uses me that way.”
And when he said that, I said, “Let me tell you what the answer is. The answer is your congregation dishonors you but not in this negative sense where you’re nothing. I said, you have probably created a kind of rapport and a relationship with your congregation that you are so familiar to them because of how you carry yourself that they don’t expect anything supernatural to come through you. If you change the culture, you’ll start seeing God use you at home.”
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Miracles are not meant to be understood they are meant to be believed.”
We don’t have all the answers and these learned scholars that I’m quoting, don’t have all the answers. But what they do have is a perspective that says despite my lack of knowledge about the supernatural, I still believe in God to use me in the supernatural.
Question Three: HOW do I practice what I believe?
I believe that God still heals today. I believe that God still saves today. I believe that God still unburdens those who are demonized. I still believe that God works miracles today.
So, how do I practice that?
Luke 9:1-2 says, “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”
Again, you see the twin demonstration of the gospel, power and proclamation. You need the word and demonstration of the Holy Spirit together, it’s the gospel.
So the question is, how do I practice what I believe?
Answer. See yourself as someone who has already been given power and authority by God. The Greek word for power is “dunamis” and it means ability, strength and might. You don’t need to go get it. You need to use it.
You have to have an orientation, a perspective, a paradigm that says I’ve been given power now. You’ve been given power and you’ve been given authority. Authority is the legal right to exercise God’s power. It’s the legal right to act on God’s behalf. It’s the legal right to represent Jesus on the Earth.
Now it has nothing to do with loudness. When you’re praying for someone that is sick, you don’t have to scream it. When you’re praying for someone who’s demonized for them to get free, it’s not yelling. That’s not authority.
When you see a state trooper pull someone over because they’re speeding, the state trooper comes up to your window and they say softly, “May I see your driver’s license, your insurance and your registration, please?”
When they speak to you, it’s not about loudness and it’s not even about the force of their personality, because they’re speaking to you as a delegated authorized person to represent the state and they have the legal right to hold you accountable. The second answer is that God has called you to be used that way. Expect him to use you.
Here’s another answer. Give yourself over to reading and studying it. Read books by qualified authors that have had experiences with God and give you a chapter and verse and point to it in the Bible. Read the Bible. Read through the Book of Acts, you’ll be fascinated.
Three simple questions we must ask ourselves.
What should I believe?
How do I practice what I believe?
May God use you mightily as you become a conduit, a facilitator of Holy Spirit activities. Expect him to use you and he’ll use you.