Miracles and today's church
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I would insert a note of caution with the idea that maybe the miracles that happened in the past are no longer needed today. The purpose of the miracles was never to just meet the needs of the folks Jesus and His disciples met because they had needs that needed taking care of, but these miracles actually verified the very Word of God Jesus and His disciples preached. The ability to perform miracles was proof positive that the worker of the miracles was a messenger sent from God. Jesus points this out in the Gospel of John. Jesus was addressing His disciples (especially Phillip) just prior to the last week He would spend on this earth in His human body. He said, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works sake" (John 14:10-11, KJV, emphasis added). Here Jesus is clearly saying that if the disciples (and, by extension, the people they ministered to) are stumbling at the thought that Almighty God might be speaking to them through Jesus, they are to believe that what Jesus says and especially does actually comes from his Father in Heaven. The very miracles themselves, Jesus tells them, are mute testimony to the presence of the Father, and shows that what is being said and what is being seen (the miracles) actually are coming from the Father of Jesus, God Almighty. That there is no doubt about this being the assertion of Jesus, which they should believe on is shown by Jesus telling them to believe Him because of the very works that the Father is doing through Him.
But, one may say, that's fine for back then. After all, the church was just being founded and it needed all the help it could get to just get off the ground. Of course there were great miracles back then, but we don't need them today, we have the completed Scriptural account now to guide us. In verse 12 Jesus seems to be anticipating this argument that would arise within the church as a way of dismissing the miracles in a latter time. Jesus continues His teaching to the disciples and says "Verily, Verily, I say unto you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father" (John 14:12, KJV, emphasis added). Because Jesus added the qualifying phrase "he that believeth on me" to this scriptural reference, it is plain that Jesus meant that anyone in the future, whether it be those who believed on Jesus at Pentecost, or those who believed on Him in 2004, they would be able to do not only the works that Jesus did, but even greater works than He did because He will no longer be on this earth, He will be sitting at the right hand of His Father. The body of Christ, made up of all people that have accepted Jesus as their Savior, is still expected to do the works that the Father did through the physical body of Jesus when He physically walked among men.
The Father is not through working His works in this world, He is using the body of Christ, those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, as His vehicle for doing mighty works. The formula that existed in Jesus when He was physically here, namely that the Father is in Jesus and does His wondrous works through Jesus, is still true today. Since Jesus was in the Father and the Father was in Jesus, (John 14:10), then the same arrangement is true today within the body of Christ and the miraculous works of the Father need to be performed today by His Son's body for the same reason they were performed by the physical body of Jesus. The works validate the word that the Father is speaking through the body of His Son, those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The need for verification in a lost and dying world is just as great today as it was in the days Jesus physically walked the earth. We, who call ourselves Born-Again believers in Jesus, the very Body of Christ in the world today, have the privilege of the Father using us to spread His Word with signs, wonders and miracles, just as He did through Jesus when He walked among us. This is clear from John 14:12 where Jesus starts out by saying "Verily, verily". The word "verily" (amen) in the Greek means simply "it is true". When the Greek repeats a word twice, as in "Amen, amen" (Verily, verily or truly, truly) it is done for emphasis and caries the meaning of "this is true, of a certainty this is true" The repeated word simply enforces the meaning of the word and is the Greek way of saying "Listen up, dude, this is very important and it is, without exception, a true saying". So when Jesus said "Verily, verily", He was in effect saying that what followed was not only as true as it can possibly be, but the listener had better be paying close attention.
So what can we say then, based on Jesus' use of "Verily, verily" or (as it sometimes is translated) "Truly, truly"? That what Jesus was explaining there to His disciples applies to us today in the 21st century just as it did in the 1st century. We, the body of Christ, is expected to do today the miraculous works Jesus did some 2000 years ago and for the same reason. So that a lost and dying world can see the power of God at work and realize that the ones proclaiming the Word of God are actually physical representatives of God Almighty in this world. As Paul put it "We are ambassadors for Christ" (2 Cor. 5:20) and as such we represent Almighty God to the lost and dying world around us. The purpose of the signs, wonders and miracles we are supposed to be doing, is to convince this lost world that we really are God's ambassadors in this world and we bring His Word to this world. If the people cannot believe our words, they cannot deny the works we do which showcases for all the immense power of Almighty God. As with Jesus, if they cannot believe what we are saying, then they are faced with the miracles of God, our Father and they cannot deny those miracles, for the people who are touched by the power of God through a miracle done in their life will testify to the very power of God that flowed through them, just like it did in all the folks that Jesus healed while He was on this earth.
When the body of Christ finally grabs hold of what Jesus said in John 14:12, then will the world experience a revival the likes of which have never been seen since the 1st century. Because the Body of Christ is so powerless today, the world does not recognize who Jesus really is. Jesus started out with 12, then at Pentecost, He had 120 (a ten-fold increase) and these 120 turned their world upside down. What would happen if the millions who now comprise the Body of Christ were to begin doing what the disciples of Jesus did in the 1st century? How much would our world change for the better if just those who are Born-Again began to do what Jesus told them to do in John 14:12? When do you think the body of Christ will get around to doing the very task that Jesus told them to do in John 14:12? Perhaps it is time to quit playing church and actually be the physical body of Jesus on this earth whom the Father can work through to do His work, just as He did when Jesus was physically among us.
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Wonderfully presented the church body certainly need to take John's words to heart,for by letting the FATHER use us to do these things, we will convince others, that we have a living GOD, who is still in the miracle business. Like you say, when this is done, there will be a mighty revival in the body, and many more shall be led to CHRIST. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide your words, and may the LORD bless you, and all of yours. I believe that you may enjoy one of my last posts titled "Trusting GOD/GODS WORD", I like reading other writers works because it helps me to broaden my perspectives as a writer, I will look for more of your works. In CHRIST Stephen Monday
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