Pray for your miracle in faith,
Be sincere early and not too late.
Pray for your miracle in hope,
And against all doubts to cope.
Pray for your miracle with gratitude,
Be for this in a humble attitude.
Pray for your miracle with passion,
And don’t act in a worldly fashion.
Pray for your miracle by God’s Son,
Be sure in Jesus that you have won.
Pray for your miracle by the Spirit of God,
And in courage and victory you trod.
Recently I happened to meet a preacher who went a long rant about people who came to his church, got their miracles and then stopped coming to his preaching services. Here’s one such real life example he keeps facing; people who are unemployed came to him for prayers. Then those people get jobs by getting trough the job interviews. These people didn’t earlier get jobs for months. They then come to testify in church, in front of the entire congregation as to how after being prayed over by the preacher, they received their blessings from God and have so got a great paying job. Fast forward this to like three months later and the preacher then observed that many of these who received their jobs miraculously are nowhere to be seen at the church services. In fact now the very jobs they got blessed with are cited as reasons for not attending church, pathetic! This preacher was visibly upset for a moment when he mentioned this challenge he faced but yet after that kept praying for others who are in need of jobs etc.
Then there’s a thing that I too faced. I’d pray for people and they’d get married and but then reduce their church attendance, while there are many other couples who do attend church even after marriage. They then will avoid any religious seminars and guess what; being married is cited as the reason for that. Then few years later when the child is born and is sick, they are in ‘need’ of me for prayers. Only out of concern for the child do I pray for his or her well-being and they recover. After that if I try to contact the parents, they again go non responsive. Utterly ungrateful and opportunistic people!
Due to this, I later on modified my strategy towards such people. Basically, first identify such people and pray for discernment. Then don’t help unless explicitly asked for in a non ambiguous manner. And only then help as usual but expect them to not be grateful later on. So don’t invest too much into them. Instead go on to help the next person God sends in your life.
So what’s my point?
My point is don’t be selfish after getting your blessings. Firstly, honour the Lord God and don’t miss out on praying to him and loving him. Secondly, have regard towards those who prayed for you in your suffering. Thirdly, remember that miracles are not for your selfish agendas but for the glory of God. Finally, don’t make your blessings as an excuse to neglect coming to church nor an as excuse to reduce praying and avoid reading the Bible.
Now to people who still think all they need is a blessing and then disappear from doing their responsibility towards God, well I have bad news for you. You can try to give all the reasons you want but the Lord God knows the deceitful and the good right from the heart. The maker of all hearts knows really well how to judge them and obviously there is a Final judgement that will soon happen. And just to let you know, not every preacher will allow you to take them for granted. Even myself made a strategy as mentioned above. But let share just one strategy which another set of preachers use; don’t grant the miracle unless the person shows interest in continuing in the Word God. Rude as this strategy sounds to the selfish of heart, the good of heart don’t mind this at all.
Let me make it real to you. At a preaching convention, there was a woman in need of a miracle for her baby. Now this preaching was residential over a span of five days. This woman was desperate and was only looking for the preacher to lay hands on the baby so that her child recovers and then she’d immediately leave the convention half way. Signs were already showing up. She was skipping prayers and mentioning the baby as the reason. Arriving late in the preaching hall and citing the baby as the reason. Keeping on saying that she has things at home to attend to and what not. At the time of healing prayers the preacher felt the power of God at work. He prayed and a lot of people received their healing. Now that woman came to him for praying for her baby. But he realized in his mind that if he grants her the healing she will immediately leave the place. So he told her to wait till the final day of the convention. She was reluctant but had no choice.
Before any of you think what that preacher did wrong, please continue to observe what happened next. The preacher kept preaching the Word of God in its fullness and emphasized on believing in the Gospel, repentance from sins, faith for life etc. These are very vital topics in the life of a believer in Christ. Now on the fifth day the woman went back to the preacher and asked him to pray over her baby and this time he asked the Lord God to heal the baby of so and so disease. The moment the woman realized her child is healed she immediately made an excuse in the name of the baby and left the convention. The preacher was smart enough to call her only at the last minutes of the convention. He said he didn’t lack mercy towards the baby but knew in advance that the woman was more interested in the miracle than hearing the Word of God if the baby was healed first. Because he prayed that the baby’s health won’t worsen in those five days but only that the healing would occur last day.
Now, I myself don’t use his method about praying for people but I do get his point loud and clear; some people once they receive their miracle may make excuses to avoid hearing the Gospel, so do whatever you can to stop that.
My advice to those preaching and healing others in the name of Jesus Christ, would be that don’t let people treat you like an MVM. Some people incorrectly feel that they are entitled to all the time and efforts of those who pray for others and they don’t feel grateful towards them. Don’t be an MVM but a true minister of the Word of God. Be a pleaser of God instead of the people.
You might ask what is a “MVM”. It’s called as a Miracle Vending Machine. So again for those preaching healing in Jesus’ name, please remember that miracles are secondary and the glory to God comes first. Ensure that you explain the love and mercy of God as mentioned in Gospel and then pray for healing and miracles for those who come to you. And tell those people who might think the job they will get is due to their own ability then why are they asking you to pray for them? You can also tell them if they want a good spouse in marriage then why are they expecting you to fast for them but themselves don’t want to fast? Obviously, you don’t need to blunt too much but at the same time don’t be anyone’s door mat either especially when you know the gift of healing and miracles are not yours to claim fame for but are of God’s alone who is working through you.
Christ be with you!
A few years ago, I had been contacted by a representative of a local church and this was about a case that sounds extremely odd. There was a woman who would attend their church and perhaps still attends it. She would exhibit Stigmata while the church services would go on. This caused the church goers to be in wonder of her and the church leadership was suspecting demons at work. Because in certain types of demon possession, the affected individual also exhibits Stigmata. The people were getting too interested in her instead of praying to the Lord. So I was asked for a strategy to deal with her, since they didn’t want to directly cast her out of the prayer services, since part of the congregation believed her to be genuine. Eventually following my advice this was tackled cleanly and effectively.
Let me now give you a few definitions of what Stigmata stands for:
- Stigmata: bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Jesus and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasy. (As per Merriam-Webster dictionary online)
Now the church representative was very concerned that the Stigmata ie the bleeding wounds on the woman’s hands were of the devil. I told him not to get too presumptuous about that but let me give him my advice on it. So I decided to ask him a few questions and by this analyze the situation. So for your convenience let’s call the church representative as George. Here’s how our chat went on:
Myself: Where do the wounds show up on her?
George: On the palms, both of them.
Myself: Not anywhere else?
George: Only the palms.
Myself: Strange, because these even happen on the feet, sometimes on the forehead and even on the chest.
George: I’ve not faced this before so I’m not sure what you are talking about.
Myself: No problem. Let me ask another question?
Myself: Does she belong to your denomination?
George: No, she’s from so and so denomination.
Myself: Do you suspect this stigmata that shows up in her might be a ploy to poach your existing church members in her denominational church?
George: (A bit startled) Nothing yet. She didn’t tell anyone to join her church.
Myself: Are you sure?
George: But she does attend other churches too?
Myself: Then why does she attend your church. Are you not aware that certain denominations proclaim other denominations as heretics?
George: I’m not sure but she is regular with us.
Myself: What’s the attitude of others in church towards her?
George: They are awestruck by her and are eager to see her every church service.
Myself: (Concerned) Does this mean she attracts others to Christ?
George: Can you be more specific?
Myself. Yes. By her getting the mysterious blood marks on her palms, do people at your church feel like praying more to the Lord? Do they feel like reading the Bible even more? Do they feel like fasting? Do they pray for more miracles to happen in your church?
George: (Stumped) I’ll have to check on this. This will need me to research on what’s going on.
Myself: Can I suggest a thing?
Myself: Don’t put her on a position of prominence in church. Make sure that people at the time of praise and worship are focused on Christ. You are to keep track of what messages she gives the others in your church and check if it is consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
George: We always focus on Jesus Christ at the church services but I will make sure people continue to focus on the Lord and not her.
Myself: That’s fine enough. I also want to ensure that somebody preaches the Gospel to her.
George: We preach the Gospel at church. I’ll make sure some woman also reaches out to her in this regard.
Myself: I also suggest that you keep track of your people. I mean you don’t want a situation that her stigmata causes people to switch over to her denomination?
George: No. We preach the true Gospel, why should people leave us?
Myself: That’s not my point. I’m not blaming your church. I’m only asking you to make sure your church is not carried away into impulsiveness.
George: What about demons? Don’t you suspect her stigmata could be a demonic manifestation?
Myself: I’d say its demonic if she abhors the name of Jesus that she ends up getting fits (epilepsy) all of a sudden on hearing the name of the Lord. Or she reacts violently and screams a lot.
George: Ok, thanks. I will keep track of the things you’ve said.
Myself: No problem. I will pray for her and your church services to not be affected negatively.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5: 19-24)
Now it took the church representative a few weeks to get back to me as to what happened. He told me he tried the stuff I told him. They made sure someone preached to the woman who got the Stigmata. The church services were done with the wholesome preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Plus the worship was purely focused on the Lord. George said the woman didn’t have any specific revelation nor prophecy to give to the church nor did she cause any people to join the other churches she would go to. Most importantly, the woman no longer manifested the Stigmata on her palms. She instead prayed and read the Bible and leads an upright life to George’s best knowledge. The people were not attracted to her but instead focused on the Lord God.
The point here is not just Stigmata, it might have been levitation in mid-air or even holding poisonous snakes without getting harmed, what should be our reaction?
- It definitely does not mean that we consider such people as worthy of more respect than Christ.
- It does not mean that we throw away our knowledge of the Gospel in exchange for untested visions or revelations accompanying the “miraculous” person in question.
- It does mean that we continue to worship the Lord God without deviating from principles of the Bible.
- It does mean that we do not worship false gods on the insistence of any person who can even perform supernatural feats.
- It does mean that we document such cases, including the mental state of the person having Stigmata etc to be able to clearly analyze the situation instead of being clueless.
- It does mean that if we don’t know how to deal with such cases we are humble enough to ask some other Christians who are aware of such situations.
- Above all pray and read the Bible and do research by yourself too.
Verses for reflection:
- Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is already in the world. (1 John 4: 1-3)
- But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)
- “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit. But a corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a corrupt tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)
- How is it then, brothers? When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him remain silent in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. If anything is revealed to another that sits by, let the first keep silent. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:26-33)
Any person who preaches the Gospel whether in church, home or elsewhere must take a serious note that they are to preach the complete Gospel. One must never get bullied or pressured to only speak the points of the Gospel that the congregation likes to hear such as healing and salvation but avoid topics like martyrdom and sanctification. You are not here to impress the people, you are in fact here to preach the Gospel. And this means that you are not to compromise with the preaching of the Gospel at any given point of time and place.
Sometimes the preaching of an incomplete Gospel might have the actual words of the Bible and even sound impressive but that still leaves a lot of gray areas in the spirit. For instance, saying that Jesus picked up his cross for you but skipping up the part of the Gospel where Jesus wants us to carry our cross and deny oneself, leaves a person to have a lot of guess work as to whether to indulge in worldly luxuries or spend time helping the poor and needy.
Speaking about the Gospel where you focus a lot on love but miss out on mentioning that Jesus actually rose from the dead, is basically an incomplete Gospel. As a result the person hearing such a Gospel will be surprised when someone actually mentions that Jesus had to die for us and then rose from the grave.
I had encountered one such person from another religion who claimed to know everything about Christianity as he attended a lot of Christian worship services at a particular place. I felt that he was boasting too much, as a person who hears the complete Gospel won’t brag about his knowledge as the Gospel clearly speaks about being humble. So I asked him, “I hope you know that Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead on the third day, do you?” And to this he replied that he doesn’t believe in the resurrection at all because this was something he heard from me for the first time and never heard it in the church he attended. I told him to read the Bible and see what the Gospel actually says about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and he was still in shock. In hind sight, this incident made me realize that certain preachers are consistently NOT preaching the complete Gospel.
Now the following seven points are just a few of the effects and dangers of preaching an incomplete Gospel to the people:
1. People are not clear about who Jesus is
2. People are not sure if they are to leave their sins
3. People are not sure if they should pray for healings and miracles
4. People are not warned of persecutions and rejection they might encounter
5. People are not on guard against false prophets and false gospels
6. People are not encouraged to do good works
7. People are not sure of their salvation
A detailed explanation is given below for each of the above points so that you understand them better.
1) People are not clear about who Jesus is
It’s completely vain to preach a Gospel which doesn’t clearly identify Jesus as the Lord and as the Son of God. I wonder how do people even tolerate a preacher who doesn’t want to mention Jesus, not even one bit in church. If you don’t mention that Jesus is the Lamb of God how are they to understand his sacrificial death on the cross on our behalf?
Here are a few verses to consider:
- The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1)
- The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
- Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28)
2) People are not sure if they are to leave their sins
I notice that certain preachers avoid any mention of repentance. They will say stuff like ‘You don’t need religion. You only need Jesus’ as if they really know what they are saying. (On a side note, if you not sure whether if Christianity a religion or relation, then I’d say it’s both. To know about why I said that please refer to my earlier post Is Christianity a religion or relation?). The fact is that people have to both accept Jesus as their Savior and also repent of their sins.
Anyone who says that once you repent, each and every of your future sins are automatically forgiven can read my earlier post titled : ‘The heresy of pre-forgiven sin‘ which shows you must repent every time you sin.
Here are a few verses to reflect upon:
- No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)
- Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7)
- “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)
3) People are not sure if they should pray for healings and miracles
Some preachers try to focus a lot on good conduct but leave out the fact that miracles in the name of Jesus did happen in the Gospel and can still happen today. Miracles and healings are for today and have not gone by with the Apostles. They are still available for the glory of God. It’s vain to talk about miracles and healings as something that were only available at the time of Jesus but now it’s gone. (You can refer to my post titled Signs, wonders, miracles, deliverance and healing are for today, which explains it up).
Here are a few verses to ponder upon:
- “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)
- As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Matthew 11:20-24)
4) People are not warned of persecutions and rejection they might encounter
If all one is preaching is about the comforts of heaven and the joy of salvation but not warning the people about the persecutions and rejection they might encounter on account of believing in Jesus Christ, then they won’t be ready for it if it were to happen to them by any degree. This is not about scaring them but helping them be prepared to hold on to their hope in Christ even in the face of danger to life or ridicule by others. If Jesus could speak about that, why are you fearing to talk about the same thing?
Here are a few verses to think about:
- and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. (Matthew 10:22-25)
- “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
5) People are not on guard against false prophets and false gospels
If Gospel that is preached doesn’t warn against false prophets and the false gospels which emerge from these deceivers, then even though that Gospel is very clear on repentance it is still needs a lot of catching up to do. Because the people won’t have a clue and so be off their guard when false gospels, false prophets and even false Christ’s come to them and as a result believe in lies which can be damnable heresies.
Here are few verses to take heed of:
- And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christ’s and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. (Mark 13:21-23)
- Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew 7:15)
- As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.…. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. (Matthew 24: 3-5, 11)
6) People are not encouraged to do good works
Any preaching of Gospel that relies solely on mental assertions but doesn’t encourage to do good works is lacking the depth of love in action. Your good works are meant so that you glorify the Lord God. We are called to be both hearers and doers of the Word of God.
Here are a few verses to put into action:
- In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
- Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1, NLT)
- Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)
7) People are not sure of their salvation
Preaching the Gospel in such a way that it overemphasizes on doing good works but does not speak in clear terms about salvation can end up confusing people. There might be a danger that people will incorrectly presume to their own hurt that their goods works will grant them salvation. So it’s important that the salvation is preached to them as per the Gospel instead of any man made doctrine.
Here are a few verses to believe in:
- When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25-26)
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
- The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:35-36)
- Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)
A suggested prayer:
Dear Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ your Son. Please forgive me if at any point of time in my life whether knowingly or unknowingly I did not preach the Gospel in all its fullness. Give me the courage and hope to preach the Gospel for your glory and without any fear. Bless my will power and memory so that I recall your greatness, mercy and victory in the Gospel and exhort those who hear it to believe in Jesus Christ. Be with me Holy Spirit that those who hear the Gospel from me and are in sin turn back to their One True Shepherd so that they love and serve him all the days of their life. Amen and amen.
Signs, wonders, miracles, deliverance and healing are for today, they have not disappeared, nor have the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
There’s a wrong notion being sent across various Christian circles that signs, wonders, miracles, deliverance and healing were only for the times of the Apostles and the time when Jesus was on earth. They also say that God no longer speaks to people, so they effectively label all visions and prophesy nowadays as falsehood. This is also called as “Cessationism”. Well this thing called Cessationism is not Biblical at all.
One such Cessationist says ‘”there are no New Testament instructions about appointing apostles, prophets, healers, or anything of the kind”. I wish that they had actually read the New Testament completely in the first place before making such an outlandish statement.
Let’s read 1 Corinthians 12:1-10 which shows who is one who gives the ministries of signs, wonders, miracles, deliverance and healing and you’ll realize that he’s none other than the Holy Spirit:
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
To be a Cessationist is to be in danger of offending or at some point even blaspheming the Holy Spirit. And remember the following Bible verse:
Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:31-32)
Going by the logic of the Cessationist’s miracles do not happen anymore. Somehow, they have not noticed or rather refuse to acknowledge any signs, wonders, miracles, deliverance and healing which happen in the name of Jesus all across the world even TODAY. Why don’t they directly go one on one with preachers who preach deliverance and healing which comes from the Gospel? Why don’t they try to speak to people who were terminally ill and got healed because someone prayed for them in the name of Jesus? The odd answer they will give is that they believe in Cessationism because their religious teachers taught them so and because of this, it must be true. This is not discernment at all.
Now for these people, if a miracle were to happen nowadays in name of Jesus Christ then what would be their reaction? Most probably they will still try to push their man made ‘doctrine’ instead of investigating if that miracle were true.
Why is it that they don’t want people to get healed in the name God? What makes them so adamant against deliverance which includes casting out evil spirits out of suffering people? Why is it that they don’t want to talk about miracles that still happen today at church as valid and true? One reason could be that signs, wonders, miracles, deliverance and healing which happen in the name of Jesus require faith but they prefer to exercise ‘doctrine’ instead of living by faith.
And Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)
Signs and wonders have been included the Great commission as mentioned above by Jesus. And this was NOT limited to the Apostles. It’s very clear “And these signs will accompany those who believe” and by this it means this was not limited to the Apostles alone.
Now Cessationist‘s misinterpret the following Bible verses and use them to blindly label other Christians as heretics and imposters:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
They fail to see that in the verses prior that Jesus warned about false prophets telling to us to recognize them by their fruits. But Cessationist‘s have made up their mind to ignore the words of Jesus and forgo any sort of discerning but simply label all those who prophesy and cast out demons in the name of Jesus as workers of lawlessness. Somehow they don’t have the time to verify if someone truly works for the Lord or not. They are completely obsessed with tackling teachers of evil that they forget the basic differences between the good and the evil one’s.
I would ask such people who indulge in Cessationism to might as well read the following words by Jesus:
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Cessationism decides to cherry pick on the Bible. Whatever verses they want to use to either justify their doctrine is most welcome. The same applies for using Bible verses for falsely accusing other Christians. However, they choose to ignore and even challenge Bible verses such as Mark 16:15-18, 1 Corinthians 12:1-10 etc so that people avoid doing wonders in the name of Jesus.
If you have been taught Cessationism, I would say that read the Bible for yourself plain and simple to understand the facts. But if you still persist on holding on to Cessationism, then why do you pray to God for discernment and safety and still expect God to reply to your problems with favor? Well, for myself I do not believe in Cessationism but believe in Christ the Son of God who still replies to prayers with blessings, healing and power.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people (1 Timothy 2:1)
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)
The above words were spoken by Jesus about those who believe (not just the Apostles), that they would do the works (of healing, deliverance etc) like him and would do even more greater that him. This is not about personal exaltation but about glorifying the Lord God in his Son Jesus. Read it again if you must but still there no mention about such things ceasing after the time of the Apostles.
Christ be with you!
- Why is God so different in the Old Testament than He is in the New Testament? (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- The Holy Spirit: Deconstructing Cessationism (revolfaith.com)
- Deconstructing Cessationism: Part 2 (revolfaith.com)
Anyone who believes in Christ ought to be careful against those who put a price on miracles of healing and restoration. There are wrong concepts being passed around that you must pay for your miracle. Basically, someone will say that pay up a certain amount of ‘love offering’ or ‘tithe’ over to their ‘ministry’ to get restored physically for financial, emotional or physical restoration. Nothing could be more far from the truth of the Gospel.
Jesus didn’t ask for anyone to charge others for miracles. In fact he said to his Apostles, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8 KJV)
Before I can elaborate on this, let me make something very clear, lest you miss the point. There is nothing wrong in donating to the cause of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s good to give to ministries that work to bring relief to the poor and afflicted. Now it’s true that certain preachers actually need money to cover the cost of running their ministries. They are genuinely into preaching the word and there are valid expenses in terms of travel and equipment costs, building maintenance costs etc. Never shy away from helping such ministers in whatever little way you can. For instance you can donate money or give them your extra Bibles or clothes that you don’t use which they can give to those who might need them.
Now coming back to the topic of not paying for miracles remember that Jesus himself never charged anyone to grant them their healing or deliverance. We are called to imitate Christ (read 1 John 2:6, 1 Corinthians 11:1 and 1 Thessalonians 1:6) and as we imitate him we are do so without being legalistic. As Jesus walked in wisdom so must we.
Jesus blesses us without charging us, all we need to do is believe in him. He has paid the price for your salvation and healing. Scripture says; But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5). This is again in the Scripture where it says; He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
Such a simple truth yet this is difficult to grasp for a world that is brought up on ‘earning your worth’. Here is our Lord Jesus who is giving you things you couldn’t even buy if you worked all your life for it. Now, lets read and reflect on the following verses:
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:16-17)
By these verses it becomes very clear that these blessings of God do NOT come with a price tag. What is most important is that you come to the Lord because he himself wills that you come.
Now I am aware of what the ‘pay for your miracle’ bandwagon say to justify their deeds as good. They usually quote; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38). And also they will quote “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it]. (Malachi 3:10 KJV)
I wish they could preach these verses but in the right context. The context of these verses is never about paying for your miracle but rather its about being generous towards God and partnering with him for his work on earth. The emphasis is on giving rather that receiving. And putting this in conjunction with Matthew 10:7-8 we can confirm that it’s not about buying up your miracle nor trying to sell one.
Even back in the Old Testament we have the instance of Elisha the prophet of God who refused any compensation from Naaman the Syrian whom he cured of leprosy (all this is mentioned in 2 Kings 5). The following verses stand witness to this:
Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. (2 Kings 5:15-16)
Moving forward to the New Testament we have the instance where the Apostles Peter and John encountered a lame beggar on their way into the temple. They didn’t ask him for money. How could they even ask anything from a beggar? But instead Peter healed the lame man in the following manner as mentioned in the Bible:
Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. (Acts 3:3-8)
With both the Old and New Testaments showing that those who did miracles by God didn’t need a payment for that we can understand one thing very clearly. That those who are demanding money in exchange for miracles are neither following the Old nor the New Testaments.
To this effect let us remember that when a certain Simon who previously practiced magic tried to bribe Peter to receive power, he got rebuked for it. Not just any power but that by which he could put his hands on anyone so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. Simon was duly rebuked by Peter for his sin of trying to get the free gift of God with money and then Simon did repent.
Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.” (Acts 8: 14-24)
So to conclude, never pay for your miracles as Jesus has already paid it all. He is all good and loving towards those who believe in him. We are to walk in light of the Holy Scriptures which not just tell us to be generous towards God but also to walk in wisdom. Never pay for your miracle ever again!