Acts 4:29-31 – “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus. After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
“We modern people think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order. The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that he has power but also wonderful foretastes of what he is going to do with that power. Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming.” [T. Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism]
Application: Let’s pray like the early church for the Lord’s empowering to speak the gospel with great boldness. Let’s pray for the demonstration of God’s power and for the ultimate redemption for our world, salvation in Jesus Christ.
Acts 5:12-16 – “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.”
“[…] When Jesus performed miracles, his actions had a significance beyond the immediate act of healing. His actions were signs of the Kingdom of God. They were indications of a higher order breaking into our natural order. His healings were a sign that God is the ultimate healer. His control over nature was a sign of God’s control over nature. His resurrection was the firstfruits of the new order of resurrection life. And in all these things God was in Christ, drawing our attention to who he was and pointing us to the future.” [C. Brown, That You May Believe: Miracles and Faith Then and Now]
Application: The signs and wonders point to the One, who is the healer, the Savior, Jesus. Let’s pray for greater activity of the Holy Spirit in our church so that there will be more added to our number.
Luke 11:13 (NIV) – “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
“[…] Miracles are like warning flags. They signal the presence of a different order of reality that is present in the midst of our everyday world. David Hume thought of miracles as violations of the laws of nature. But there is another way of thinking about them. It is to see them not so much as violations of an existing order but as indications of the presence of a different order. On this view, miracles are not bizarre, random events. They are tokens of a higher order that is ultimately more real than our world of change and decay…
“To open the door to the possibility of miracles is not to open the door to every myth and legend. But how do we know the difference between the genuine and the fake? Once more we are back with the question of analogy… ‘Does the miracle story bear any analogy to my understanding of God and his creation?’ …It does not mean that in order to believe in miracles we have to abandon all our scientific understanding… scientific credibility is not the only kind of credibility at issue. There is also the matter of theological credibility. It is no less important to ask, ‘Does the miracle story fit with what we know of the character of God?’ …truth demands that we look for analogies not only with our understanding of nature but with God’s revelation of himself. The Christian operates with two frames of reference. One is our understanding of the natural world. The other is our understanding of God.” [C. Brown, That You May Believe: Miracles and Faith Then and Now]
“Here is how to receive. First, present your body to Him (Rom. 12: 1, 2). God can’t fill what He can’t have. Now I ask you: Are you ready to present your body with all of its functions and all that it contains—your mind, your personality, your spirit, your love, your ambitions, your all? That is the first thing. That is a simple, easy act—presenting the body. Are you willing to do it? Now the second thing is to ask (Luke 11: 9-11), and I set aside all theological objections to this text. They say that is not for today. Well, why did the Lord leave it in the Bible then? Why didn’t He put it somewhere else; why did He put it where I could see it if He didn’t want me to believe it? It is all for us, and if the Lord wanted to do it, He could give it without our asking, but He chooses to have us ask. ‘Ask of me, and I will give thee’ is always God’s order; so why not ask?” [Tozer, A. W.. How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit, Kindle Locations 424-428.]
Application: As a response to the Father in Heaven who gives the Holy Spirit, let ask. Just ask. Why not ask for the miracles in our lives?
Galatians 3:5 (NIV) – “So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?”
“What Christians are claiming about the resurrection of Jesus is not that he rose by some natural processes; that would violate the laws of nature. No. Christians claim that Jesus rose because God injected enormous power and energy from outside the system. Now, unless you have evidence that the system is totally closed, you cannot argue against the possibility of miracles.” [J. Lennox, Miracles, VeriTalks Book 2]
Application: Let’s ask the Spirit to help us believe with all our hearts, even in dire situations to trust in God’s work of miracle among us.
Hebrews 2:1-4 (NIV) – “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
Sadly, many Christians today are unfamiliar with the manifest presence of God. They have had little personal experience with God, and have not taken the time to study through the Bible to see how God’s Word describes such an experience. So when they hear an account of someone else’s experience with God, they are quick to judge it on the basis of their own experience— or lack thereof— and condemn that experience as false. The Bible teaches, however, that our God manifests Himself tangibly to His people. He comes to them to heal, empower and refresh. God doesn’t want you to just know about Him. He wants you to experience Him! He wants to manifest His presence in your life.” [Heidler, Robert. Experiencing the Spirit: Developing a Living Relationship with the Holy Spirit. pp. 206-207]
Application: as we open our minds and hearts to the Lord, let’s ask God for the empowering of the Spirit for our lives and for others. God who comes to heal, empower and refresh, let’s ask God for the increase of the Holy Spirit’s work in the church.