This was written as a letter to a brother. Something for us all to chew-on…
B, what I present here is not directed toward you or the ministry work that you involved in, but it is something that I feel should be brought up now in the light of our recent dialog.
As you can probably tell by what I have already shared, I think that it is important to always preach the CROSS (even the disciples’ cross) along with messages about healing and deliverance, and this because though signs and miracles are of themselves NEUTRAL, many people in this day have a tendency to seek after those things more than God Himself, and this can open them up to all sorts of deception.
What I mean by this is that signs and wonders are not an indication of any great spirituality. Jesus’ disciples healed the sick and drove out demons before they were even baptized in the Holy Spirit, and many people of many different types of religions do very similar things today.
The point here is that when signs and wonders point people to the greater things that are in the mind and heart of God, and this leads to lives genuinely laid down in service to God, then we can do nothing but rejoice and be glad and give God praise for those things. On the other hand, when healing or other miracles are used to promote a man’s ministry or an organization (we see a lot of this today, don’t we?), or when people seem to seek after those things more than they do God Himself (we see a lot of this too), then there are problems that can arise.
It was Jesus Himself who warned us that if our eyes are on signs and wonders and miracles then we can be opened up to deception. He even said that if we fix our eyes on those things then we are in danger of becoming a part of what He called “a wicked and adulterous generation.” Wow. For this reason, as I have said, we must not leave the Cross out of our preaching and teaching.
I think that Jesus used the word “adulterous” to show us that when people turn from worshipping the Father in Spirit and Truth to worshipping the gifts that God gives them (cross-less Christianity), or the miracles that He performs for them, then they are guilty of committing spiritual adultery. In essence, He said that when men turn away from the invisible God (and His Truth) to worship anything that their natural eyes can see, then those things that they see (even healing miracles) become idols to them. Signs and wonders are great, but apart from the message of the Cross, the laid down life in Christ, people can fall into great deception.
B, as I have mentioned, even the early disciples of Jesus performed signs and wonders and all sorts of “miracles” before they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. I really think that this shows us that what those disciples were doing is not to be considered any big deal. I think that we both agree that this is true. Jesus himself drove this same point home to His disciples over and over and over again. You’d think that most Christians today would know by Jesus’ own teachings that MIRACLES are NOT supposed to be a big deal to those who walk with God, and they are not to be our focus! As I have shared, people of other religions perform miraculous signs and wonders. Even Egypt’s magicians turned their rods into snakes as Moses did. Even most Satanists and witches today can perform “miracles.” The point here is that WE AS THE LORD’S DISCIPLES SHOULD BE DOING THESE THINGS (casting out demons, healing the sick, raising the dead, etc.) but only by the authorization of the Father, and we should not overly focus on this stuff. It is those who are led by the SPIRIT of God who are THE SONS OF GOD. Miracles ARE NOT evidence that someone is walking with God. Son-like character and obedience to the Father is! A tree is known by its Fruit!
I’m going to end this letter here, B, but as a last note I would like to add that where most translations quote Jesus as saying “In that day many will say to me, ‘But Lord, did we not heal the sick and cast out demons in your name? .. and He then said to them, “Depart from Me you workers of iniquity,” some translations have that second part as, “Depart from Me. The things that you did were unauthorized.”
Wow. Is that not pretty interesting? – that people can sometimes do the things that Jesus did but in a way that is NOT authorized by the Father?
My, oh my! That is really something for us to think about.