Each day new Christians enter the Church eager to begin their study of God's Word. We can be thankful that the Gospel is being preached and many Souls are coming to the Saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, there are many False Teachers just as eager to accept the arrival of these new Christians so that they can take advantage of their ignorance and undeveloped steadfastness in the Word of God.
If a foreigner were to arrive in this country for the first time under your care and direction, you would have much to say. You would begin perhaps by telling of all the wonderful places to go, things to do, and the opportunities that await them. However, it would not be long before you would be under obligation to warn them of the many dangers that await them.
From a financial standpoint, you would want to warn your guest of all the dangers in the commercial business. They need to know that there are unscrupulous merchants who will take advantage of them and extract more money from them than is necessary. For example, not all retail items advertised as "ON SALE" are really on sale. You would perhaps advise in detail of - - -
You don't want to scare your foreign visitor into returning from where they came, but you have a responsiblilty to teach and warn of the hazards that exist in our society. Similarly, new Christians are warned in most every Epistle in the New Testament to beware of False Teachers who intend to defraud them.
The doctrine and teaching of modern day Signs, Wonders, and Miracles, in our Churches falls into this category. This Doctrine is strangely new, fascinating, and has a strong appeal to most everyone. The attractive message of this doctrine is that a Christian can be a participant of it. However, it will be necessary that the Teachers of this Doctrine provide guidance and an entry point so that the Believer can participate.
The entry point into the world of Signs, Wonders, and Miracles, is through knowledge. The knowledge and engagement into the world of Signs and Miracles is through Faith and is only available to those who have Faith. The Teachers and Promoters of this doctrine will provide the Christian with the required special Bible "Knowledge" to which other Christians are not aware. Prior to this special "Knowledge", the Christian was alienated from the benefits which the Doctrine offers. For this reason, the teaching, promotion, and practice of the Doctrine is at an all time high never before witnessed nor experienced since the first century Churches were established.
The Doctrine of Signs, Wonders, and Miracles is actually an easy one to grasp because it can be presented in such simplistic terms. The reason for believing and proclaiming that God is doing Miracles in the Church today does not require a lot of Bible Exegeses. The arguments can be decidedly reduced to - - -
This doctrine is not new and has existed ever since our Lord issued his message to the Church at Thyatira by the pen of John the Apostle. It has now been some 2000 years later and this Doctrine is nearing 100% saturation in the "Thyatira" type Churches. Every member in those Churches is expected to believe the Doctrine and is encouraged to promote and practice the Doctrine to the best of their ability and solidify their Faith. The scriptural basis and evidence for this Doctrine appears overwhelming.
This Doctrine offers an enticing appeal to Believers or it would not exist. This appeal is fueled by certain advantages which were were not possible prior to the Christian's BELIEF in the KNOWLEDGE of the Doctrine. The selling point of this doctrine is contained in the fact that if a Christian buys into this Doctrine, they will have the distinct advantage and privilege to be involved in one or more of the following - - -
The Practicers who insist that God is performing Signs, Wonders, and Miracles, at their hands is largely reserved for the Teachers of the Doctrine, but they offer encouragement to everyone who has FAITH. The strongest appeal today appears to be in the "HEALING" aspect of the Doctrine with the "PROSPERITY" benefit running a close second. Some Believers derive little satisfaction in the "Speaking in Tongues" phenomena, because there is no tangible benefit in doing so. Others however, enjoy the inward satisfaction of "Speaking in Tongues" because it edifies themselves and often there is little evidence of Great Miracles occurring in their lives. They have the same job, the same income, the same family, the same health problems, etc, so not much to promote to others in the way of visible and tangible miracles except to declare that they can "Speak in Tongues". Nevertheless, this allows them to be a participant in the Doctrine. When confronted directly about their lack of healing, prosperity, or miracles in their life, they generally point to their own "Lack of Faith".
Before we look at scripture regarding this Doctrine, we will first attempt to summarize its history and its battles for dominance in the Church.
The first battle of the Doctrine of the Belief and Practice of Signs, Wonders, and Miracles occurred in the first century. The Churches that were established by The Apostle Paul, Apostle Peter, and many other God appointed ministers were originally founded on one doctrine and were of one heart and one mind. The book of Acts records early Church history and it was prophesied by the Apostle Paul that - - -
29 "For I know this, that after my departure SAVAGE WOLVES will come in among you, not sparing the flock
He was speaking specifically to the Church at Ephesus elders but we know that the original doctrine delivered to the Churches soon became distorted, perverted, and contaminated. Scripturally , this was noted as - - -
The first major battle this Doctrine encountered was whether or not the Doctrine was Scripturally correct. This battle was won sometime ago. However, the battle remains for them to convince "OTHER" Churches and their members of "Their" need to accept the Doctrine and wholeheartedly - - -
Our beloved Apostle Paul who corrected the Corinthian church also battled this problem on the proper use of "SIGN" gifts.
The Churches soon split over doctrinal issues and polarized around seven major doctrines in addition to the original doctrine that was taught. These seven major doctrines are alive and well today and exist just as they did at that time. We find all seven of the doctrines described by the messages given by our Lord from the pen of the Apostle John in the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
In every epistle addressed to Churches in the New Testament there are WARNINGS concerning DOCTRINE. Why seven doctrines? There are seven doctrines because there are seven major stumbling blocks inherent and characteristic of man which objects and resists the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why the seven churches of Revelation are so important and relevant for Christians today.
The doctrine of Signs, Wonders, and Miracles existed at the time the book of Revelation was written and this Doctrine exists today. All Churches which hold fast to the Word of God and believe, practice, and promote this doctrine are characterized by and exemplified exclusively by - - -
The Church at Thyatira was the Signs, Wonders, and Miracles Church of its day. The belief and practice of this doctrine by a Born Again Christian Believer is called Fornication in the bible, but is called "Spiritual Fornication" to differentiate between the Fleshly sin and the Spiritual Sin.
The belief and practice of this doctrine by a NON Born Again church member is called Adultery in the bible, but is called "Spiritual Adultery" to differentiate between the Fleshly sin and the Spiritual Sin. There are a great deal of similarities between the Fleshly sin and the Spiritual sin because they are both sins "Of the Flesh". Any Bible Student familiar with scripture soon comes to the realization that many passages in the New Testament which speak of Fornication and Adultery are referring to something other that "illicit SEXUAL intercourse". The fact is, the Holy Spirit in many passages is speaking to the Believer of "illicit SENSUAL intercourse" which can readily be identified and associated with Signs, Wonders, and Miracles.
So the Doctrine is nothing new but is characterized in these last days by the parable of Leaven in Matthew 13. The three measures of meal (The Thyatira Church) will be completely leavened before the end of this Church Age. That is why this Doctrine has risen to the forefront and most Believers will be required to respond to the Teaching by "Yay" or "Nay". The practice of it is not by "Yay" or "Nay" but is by DEGREE.
In my personal opinion and observation, the Doctrinal saturation of these Churches reached an exponential rate of increase in the 1970's and early 1980's. For these Churches, the debate has concluded, the issue is settled, the verdict is in, and the majority of Christians in the "THYATIRA" Churches now embrace the fact that Signs, Wonders, and Miracles exist much as they did at the time Jesus and His disciples walked the earth and extending into early Church history. The Churches which embrace this Doctrine include both denominational and non-denominational and include what is commonly known as the Charismatic movement and includes, but is not limited to, the Pentecostal, Assembly of God, Four Square, Vineyard, and Charismatic Churches, which now Charismatic Catholic Churches.
New Christians are quickly confronted with this issue in their own church or with members of other churches who teach and promote the belief in Signs, Wonders, and Miracles.
The new Christian or Fundamentalist Christian who finds themselves facing the target of this Doctrine is apt to ask if not vocally, to appear unintelligent, but at least in heart questions such as - -
The Doctrine facing the Christian today is not just that the Doctrine exists. If the Doctrine of Signs, Wonders, and Miracles merely existed, then it would be at my sole discretion as to whether to choose or reject this Doctrine. However, this is not the case. The Christian is confronted with this Doctrine by enthusiastic, if not forceful Christians. The approach is made from every imaginable direction and by every possible media. The question is, "Why do Believers of this Doctrine feel compelled to convert everyone else?
The problem facing the Christians concerning this issue is that they are subject to the persuasion of many Christian and nationally recognized Preachers, Teachers, Authors, and Lecturers and are flooded with In-Church teaching materials. The bookstores offer a vast assortment of across the counter teaching material and experiential writings which promote the belief and practice of Signs, Wonders, and Miracles.
The second problem facing a hesitant Christian believer in the Doctrine is that it just doesn't seem possible that so many Christians who embrace this teaching could be wrong. After all, we all use essentially the same Bible and some of these Doctrinal teachers are well educated and respected in the Church community. Some have attended prestigious Christian colleges and they have DD and PHD after their name. Also, they have such a warm and caring nature about them, that it just can't be possible that the Doctrine could be in error. These people just can't be out to harm in any way, but seek my welfare and desire that I have a closer fellowship with God.
Any books dispelling the signs wonders and miracles phenomena are not in the top 10 list of best sellers while Christian personal experience books which garner to the sensational clamor to the top.
In the negative, a Christian who does not accept the Doctrine is subject to a class of inferiority. The negative aspects of NOT accepting the Doctrine is in itself a motivating force TO ACCEPT the Doctrine. They are made to feel inferior because of such things as - - -
Isaiah underwent the same Negative aspects among his own people. And he was God's appointed prophet ! ! !
Hear the word of the LORD, You who TREMBLE at His word: "Your BRETHREN who HATED you, Who CAST YOU OUT (Isaiah) for My name's sake, said,
'LET THE LORD BE GLORIFIED, THAT WE MAY SEE YOUR GLORY.'
But they shall be ashamed."
Isaiah was excommunicated, if you will, for not buying into the Doctrine of his day . . .
The same thing happened to the blind man whom Jesus healed. This was even worse because the blind man was cast out because of Jesus words and actions and Jesus IS GOD ! ! !
24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, "Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner."
25 He answered and said, "Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see."
26 Then they said to him again, "What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?"
27 He answered them, "I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?"
28 Then they reviled him and said, "You are His disciple, but we are Moses' disciples.
29 "We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from."
30 The man answered and said to them, "Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes!
31 "Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.
32 "Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind.
33 "If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing."
34 They answered and said to him, "You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they . . .
CAST HIM OUT.
Well, like it or not, that is the current situation and there isn't a whole lot that can be done about it. The nationwide marvel and question of "Speaking in Tongues" which occurred in a small church on Azusa street in Los Angeles in the early part of this century was only the beginning. Church involvement with Signs Wonders and Miracles has given way to the current and popular activities of
The immediate problem facing the new Christian is not so much a matter of DO signs wonders and miracles exist today, but HOW MUCH of them am I willing to accept? Church preference will satisfy this requirement. A Christian does not have to attend a Church which believes and practices all of the above. A particular Church can be selected from among many who believe the same Doctrine, but actual Church practice is limited to suit ones own taste and desired level of participation.
I recently attended a Church where the practice of "Speaking in Tongues" (as is practiced today) is believed and accepted. However, the practice of it is limited to small home group fellowships usually on Wednesday nights. It is not allowed in Sunday morning Church services because the Church leaders feel it "could" cause disruption and confusion. So they prevent such from happening by limiting the practice to specific times and settings. Here is but one example of tailoring the "Work of the Holy Spirit" to suit ones own choice of practice and involvement.
The same can be said of any Believer in the Doctrine where most All Believers would agree doctrinally with most every point, but some Believers would be uncomfortable in a Church where being "Slain in the Spirit" was a regular occurrence and "Holy Laughter" was regularly practiced. So "The Belief" in the Doctrine and "The Practice" of the Doctrine do not necessarily coincide. The problem is resolved by allowing the Believer to choose how much of "The Practice" do they want to purchase. They can buy "ALL" of it or just "SOME" of it.
Any opposing debate or discussion at this point is left to a corner with a few die-hards holding strongly the position that "sign gifts" no longer exist. The majority of Christians in Churches who do not actively practice or indulge in these "sign gifts" generally do not care to discuss the issue but simply nod that perhaps they do, but we don't practice those gifts here.
Reasons we know that miracles ceased because . . .
1) Jesus Said that Miracles Would NOT Be Characteristic of the Church Age - - -
20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God DOES NOT COME WITH OBSERVATION;
The Kingdom that was coming would be the MYSTERY KINGDOM of which is now called the Church age. The Kingdom of Righteousness with Jesus as the King in Jerusalem will be postponed because of the Jews' unbelief and disobedience.
21 nor will they say, "See here!" or "See there!" For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."
The servants of this MYSTERY KINGDOM WILL NOT declare that any special events, occurrences or MIRACLES will be happening. Instead, we know that it is the GOSPEL message which will be preached
22 Then He said to the disciples, "The days will come when YOU WILL DESIRE to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you WILL NOT SEE IT.
Every Christian would like to see the Glory of the Lord manifested in their life by Signs, Wonders, and Miracles, but Jesus is saying IT WILL NOT HAPPEN ! ! !
23 And THEY will say to you, "Look here!" or "Look there!" Do not go after them or follow them.
Jesus is saying that contrary to what you will proclaim, your opponents in the Church Age will be telling YOU that special events, occurrences, or MIRACLES will be happening. You must be in the right place at the right time and equipped with the right Knowledge and the right Faith in order to experience it.
24 For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.
Jesus is saying that you are not to look for any such special events, occurrences or MIRACLES until HE comes again at the close of the age. This passage is referring to His Glorious Coming which is miraculous, wondrous, and glorious. Notice here that our Lord makes no mention of the coming of the lawless one, Satan, with all power, SIGNS, and LYING WONDERS. Why? Because the Children of God will not be faced with that situation - - -
The Apostle Paul stated explicitly that signs, wonders, and miracles, and gifts of the Spirit would not last.
1 Cor 13:10
But when that which is PERFECT is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
Paul is saying that the gifts were temporary and would be done away when the "Perfect" arrived. What is the "Perfect" he is talking about?
1) THE PERFECT is what the Apostle Paul is talking about in ALL of Chapter 13 which is commonly known as the LOVE chapter
1 Peter 5:10
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you PERFECT, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
2) THE PERFECT is what the Apostle John said - - -
1 John 4:12
No man hath seen God at any time. If we LOVE one another, God dwelleth in us, and his LOVE IS PERFECTED in us.
1 John 4
17 Herein is our LOVE MADE PERFECT, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but PERFECT LOVE casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made PERFECT IN LOVE.
3) The Apostle John can talk about the PERFECT because - - -
Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple (John) WHOM JESUS LOVED following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
But above all these things put on LOVE, which is the bond of PERFECTion
If the Fist Century Church must wait until the "PERFECT" has come, then how long will the Signs, Wonders, and Miracles last?
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the EDIFYING OF ITSELF IN LOVE ! ! !.
Is the Church still waiting for this capability?
The apostle Peter suggests that this is not the age for Signs, Wonders, and Miracles.
1 Peter 5:1
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the GLORY that WILL BE revealed:
What GLORY was Peter referring to?
Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, RISE UP AND WALK.
At the start of the Church age, Peter was endowed with Power to manifest the Glory of God. But in 1 Peter he suggests that this is past tense and that the Glory (of Miracles) is now FUTURE.
Not much is said about the "PENALTY" for believing false Doctrine. However, in this case Jesus and the Apostle Paul make it quite clear as to what the penalty shall be for believing, promoting, and practicing the Doctrine of Signs, Wonders, and Miracles. Jesus has so much to say about this Doctrine in his message to the Church at Thyatira. This Church is the Signs, Wonders, and Miracles Church and Jesus appears to them as God who is about to execute JUDGMENT ! ! !
"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, 'These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a FLAME of FIRE, and His FEET like FINE BRASS:
This is the only Church in which our Lord appears in such a fashion. Why does He do this and why is his message to this Church so severe? The reason He is so indignant toward the Practice of this Church (Fornication) is because they are involved in the same tactics as Satan himself. We know that after the Church is removed from this earth, Satan will then have the capability to exercise a power that God would not let him use while the Church was on earth.
2 Thessalonians 2
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, SIGNS, and LYING WONDERS,
10 and with all UNRIGHTEOUS DECEPTION among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
The fact that His Children are actively involved in the same practice is reason for Him to appear as He does and issue the Words that He does. His Children should know better.
The written record in the Word of God concerning and describing the Signs, Wonders, and Miracles which were performed by Jesus Christ and the Apostles were a FOUNDATION for our Faith. They were not, are not, nor shall ever be a SOURCE of Faith.
1 Cor 2
4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
1 Cor 15
17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
This is stated in the New Testament clearly - - -
The Old Testament reveals this fact about - - -
25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:
27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;
29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
31 "In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back.
32 Remember Lot"s wife.
33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
34 I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.
35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.
36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left."
37 And they answered and said to Him, "Where, Lord?" So He said to them, "Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."
This topic can be summarized to say that Christians are associated a lot of "MIRACLES" to the NOT SUPERNATURAL. That is to say, that the use of the word "Miracle" has become such a flippant use of the word to make it of no value. For example, some Christian receives a long awaited job in answer to prayer. Rather than thanking God for answering the prayer, they thank God and attribute it to a "Miracle". This is complete sacrilege when you think that an Unbeliever across town in a similar situation receives the same gift from God but not through prayer, nor through Jesus Christ, and they say, it is a "Miracle".
It can readily be seen by observation that whatever "Miracle" is paraded through the Church and through the streets of the unsaved, that God is DOING THE SAME for Unbelievers. Talk shows like Dr. Phil and Oprah are filled with people who are not proclaiming to be Christians, nor promoting faith in Jesus Christ and are describing their experience as a "Miracle".
Could it be that what Christians claim to be "Miracle" God is doing for the Unsaved, the Unbelievers as well? The answer to that question is an unequivocal YES, for scripture says - - -
44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His SUN RISE ON THE EVIL and ON THE GOOD, and SENDS RAIN ON THE JUST and ON THE UNJUST.
Believers who adopt this Doctrine are largely unfamiliar with the book of JOB. The whole issue that arises is one of Theology. Job's friends are stating that God deals differently with his own than with the ungodly. Since JOB has suffered severe affliction, then the only way for them to reconcile the situation is to declare that JOB must have sinned and is incurring the judgment of God. JOB goes to an extreme to declare just the opposite - - -
5 Look at me and be astonished; Put your hand over your mouth.
6 Even when I remember I am terrified, And trembling takes hold of my flesh.
7 Why do the wicked live and become old, Yes, become mighty in power? (Miracle of Healing)
8 Their descendants are established with them in their sight, And their offspring before their eyes.(M of Security)
9 Their houses are safe from fear, Neither is the rod of God upon them. (Miracle of Safety)
10 Their bull breeds without failure; Their cow calves without miscarriage. (Miracle of Prosperity)
11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, And their children dance. (Miracle of Posterity)
12 They sing to the tambourine and harp, And rejoice to the sound of the flute. (Miracle of Joy)
13 They spend their days in wealth, And in a moment go down to the grave. (Miracle of Wealth)
14 Yet they say to God, 'Depart from us, For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.
Job declares that the same "MIRACLES" are happening to the unjust as well - - - Was he correct ?
And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, AS MY SERVANT JOB HAS.
Dear Christian, if your thinking of buying into this Doctrine, please consider the words of Job and as well as the New Testament admonishments - - -
If any Christians demands that you admit that a "Miracle" has occurred or else label them a LIAR, your correct response must be from the Bible, - - -
2 Chronicles 18:27
Then Micaiah said, "If you ever return in peace, the LORD HAS NOT SPOKEN BY ME." And he said, "Take heed, all you people!"
The parallel is - - -
If God's MIRACLES are occurring in YOUR midst as YOU say, then I have misunderstood the WORD of the LORD ! ! !
1 Timothy 4:1
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and Doctrines of demons
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